In the passage just before ours here, Mary (Jn 12:3) is remembered for pouring very expensive oil on the head and feet of Jesus. The value of the oil was a year’s wage of a common laborer. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, was very bothered by this expensive waste (destruction) – in his estimation — saying that the oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor. But John tells us in his gospel account that Judas did not care about the poor, but that he was a thief who stole from offerings given to Jesus and those with Him. (Jn 12:6) Today we are going to remember Judas, for our learning and admonition. Continue reading “Sold His Soul For Price of A Killed Slave”
The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. That is why they are still relevant to us today – not only as a guide for wisdom unto salvation, and for righteous living, but also as a guide for knowing the will of God: Jesus Christ is going to come back to take back the world that the devil and human beings have usurped for themselves, and He will establish the Kingdom of God (YHVH) forevermore. Continue reading “Take Heed; I Have Told You All Things Beforehand”
Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been brought into covenant relationship with the God of Israel, and with Jewish believers in the Son of God. The Church — the Body of Christ/Messiah, the one new man, the Bride of the Lamb — is comprised of both these redeemed and born-again believers called out from every people group and nation. We all have a significant role to play through to the end of the age towards YHVH God’s salvation of His chosen people Israel, by which the whole world and creation will be blessed. Continue reading “The Church’s Role in The End-Times of The Last Days Towards Israel’s Salvation”
(Presented at PFI-UK conference on June 10, 2017)
I was saved when I finally realized that my hope for a better world was going to be the Lord Jesus Christ coming back to make this world right, according to the prophetic Word of God that He has given us in the Bible. When I repented and believed the good news, I got much more than I had expected or even thought of: forgiveness of my sins, baptism of the Holy Spirit, eternal life with the Lord in a new creation that will be perfect, far better even than the Millennial Kingdom after Jesus returns!
I remember that when we were first saved, much of the expectation then (1981) was that Jesus could come back in 1988, which meant that the rapture could happen any time very soon in 1981. This was the blessed hope. Randi and I went to a church service not long after in another state, and the pastor that day said that the rapture, our blessed hope, could happen any time very soon, and that the Christians would escape the terrible things that were going to come on the Earth. But every time that I read the Bible about these things, I was not as sure as these pastors and teachers were about the timing or the purpose of the rapture. Also, I thought, Christians had not done any better than the Jews had with respect to living in a manner that honored the name of the LORD. I heard another well-known teacher, who recently spoke at a conference in another country, say that the blessed hope of Christians was not dying; i.e., being raptured when Jesus comes for His bride. This expectation was, and is, believed and taught by both Jewish and Gentile believers.
My thoughts always took me to consider all the thousands, millions, billions of believers who have already died over the last almost 2000 years. According to all of these teachers and teachings, they all missed the blessed hope! They simply were not living at the right time! Yet the Scriptures give this blessed hope to all believers, not only to those who might still be alive when the Lord returns, when He calls, firstly, for those dead in Christ, and also to those alive in Him to gather together unto Him. (Ps 50:4-5; 2Thes 2:1-5) In fact, the catching up of those alive at His coming was a “new thing” that would not have been thought of before the revelation given to the apostle Paul: whether dead or alive, all who have hoped in YHVH’s Messiah for salvation will be in the new body with Him at that moment which the Father has appointed! (Gen 3:15; Mt 24:36; Rom 8:18-25; 1Cor 15:50-58) Have you noticed that after the mark of the beast has been taken to the doom of all who do so, the apostle John is told by a voice from Heaven: “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ Yes, says the Spirit, that they rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” (Rev 14:13) As much as we might like not to die, God is saying that those who do die in the Lord even during the time of great tribulation are blessed! For they will be resurrected to eternal life in the body. The gates of Sheol/Hades – death — can not prevail against the Church! In any case, it does seem that the Holy Spirit is awakening the Body of Messiah to the coming again of the Lord. Many still seem to be sleeping, or, having awakened, they still seem unprepared or indifferent to it. This is what the parable of the ten virgins teaches us. As often as we fellowship in the Lord’s Supper, we remember the Lord’s death until He comes. (1Cor 11:25-27)
An argument used to support an “imminent” – any time, whether very soon or very distant – rapture are the verses and expectations of the apostles in their letters to believers that the Lord was “at the door”, “at hand”, “approaching”, “coming quickly” (which is not the same as ‘coming soon’). Paul, in his first epistle to the believers in Thessaloniki, wrote to them of the Lord’s coming and the catching up of those believers who would be alive at His coming. Paul even wrote as if he himself might be alive at that time. Yet in his second letter to them, he clarified what had apparently been misunderstood: that this would not happen until the falling away (apostacy) and the revelation of the antichrist. This does not occur until midway through the last seven years of this age (the 70th week of Daniel). It could perhaps be said that from that midway point the Lord’s return will be imminent. But even then, maybe not: remember that those who are alive in Messiah meet in the air those who are being resurrected on the way up, and in these verses from Revelation regarding the opening of the fifth seal, the Lord is letting us know that there are going to be a certain number of martyrs before His vengeance is poured out. (Rev 6:9-11) Both Paul and Peter came to know that they were going to die, and they did not say, ‘unless the Lord should come between now and then’. The return of the Jewish people back to the land of promise was and is a big sign of the last days that needed to occur before these other events can play out. The Holy Spirit gave the early believers an earnest expectation that their blessed hope would truly be in God and the fulfillment of His plan of redemption. But beyond them, the Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age, and so this expectation is being quickened in our generation to a level not known for most of the last 2000 years. (1Cor 10:11)
The Word of God promises to those in Christ that we are delivered from God’s wrath, the Day of YHVH. (Is 61:2b) Jacob’s Trouble/the Great Tribulation is essentially Satan’s wrath being unleashed on especially Jews and Christians, whom he especially hates, since both are connected with Yehovah God and His Son in covenant relationship, even if individuals among them do not believe. God’s wrath is against His enemies, and of His people, both Jews and Christians. Some of His enemies can include individual Jews and Christians who have forsaken the covenants He has “cut” with them. God’s wrath will be seen to be His righteous judgment against those who are clearly opposed to Him. Those who hold to a pre-tribulation rapture as the blessed hope have had to redefine the whole of “Daniel’s 70th Week” — the last seven years before the coming again of the Lord — as God’s wrath/ the Day of the LORD, in order to justify their particular position, but which is also the eschatological view of all believers: we will not suffer the wrath of God. This is good news! And the Holy Spirit will enable us to help others understand what is going on, and purify us to be the spotless and chaste Bride of our glorious Bridegroom! This is also good news! (Mt 3:11-12; Dan 11:31-35; Eph 5:25-27; 1Jn 3:1-3)
Let’s look at some verses that express the promise of God which gives the confident hope that has sustained the faithful throughout the ages of mankind:
Tit 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, (12) teaching us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly, righteously and godly, in this present world, (13) looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.
Act 23:6 But when Paul saw that the one part were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Men! Brothers! I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee! I am being judged because of the hope and resurrection of the dead’.
Act 24:14-16 But I confess this to you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets. (15) And I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (16) And in this I exercise myself, always to have a blameless conscience toward God and men.
Job 19:25-27 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall rise on the Earth at the last; (26) and even after my skin is corrupted, yet this: in my flesh I shall see God, (27) whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not a stranger’s; my heart yearns within me!
Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, (18) of whom it was said that in Isaac your seed shall be called, (19) concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from where he even received him, in a figure.
Jn 11:23-27 Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. (24) Martha said to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (25) Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? (27) She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world.
Dan 12:1-2 And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (2) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Act 26:6-8 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made to our fathers by God, (7) to which promise our twelve tribes hope to attain, serving God fervently night and day. For the sake of this hope, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. (8) Why is it thought a thing incredible with you that God raises the dead?
1Co 15:16-20 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ is not raised. (17) And if Christ is not raised, your faith is foolish; you are yet in your sins. (18) Then also those that fell asleep in Christ were lost. (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (20) But now Christ has risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruit of those who slept.
Php 3:7-12 But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ (9) and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; (11) if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the [righteous] dead. (12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I am pressing on, if I may lay hold of that for which I also was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.
Our blessed hope as believers in Yeshua/Jesus is the same as that given to the Fathers and the Children of Israel, and which was believed by men and women of faith in the Word and promise of God before them: it is the resurrection of the dead in Messiah/Christ, and the rapture of the living in Christ/Messiah at His revelation, at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory, and sin will trouble us no more: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the Earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Mk 8:27-38 And Jesus and His disciples went out into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And in the way He asked His disciples, saying to them, Who do men say that I am? (28) And they answered, John the Baptist. But others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets. (29) And He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said to Him, You are the Messiah. (30) And He charged them that they should tell no one of Him. (31) And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (32) And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him. (33) But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men. (34) And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. (35) For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, he shall save it. (36) For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (38) Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
Just before this passage, Yeshua had seemingly experienced some failure in the healing of a blind man. The first act of giving the man sight resulted in him only seeing without clarity. The second time Yeshua put His hands on the man’s eyes resulted in him receiving full sight. This scene was not only a physical reality — a blind man was healed — but also a parable and a prophecy: even the disciples of the Lord were not seeing clearly who Jesus really was; and the Messiah is still at work to bring His identity into sharp focus for all – believer and unbeliever alike.
Up till now, Yeshua had performed many miracles and healings and signs among the people, yet His closest disciples still seemed to be uncertain who it was that they were walking with. Yeshua is now going to bring them to a ‘valley of decision’ – a moment of truth to choose to recognize and to accept, or to reject: a decision that determines destiny. (עמק החרוץ Joel 3:14)
Yeshua asked His disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” The answers were very interesting: Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptiser, one of the other prophets. (Mk 6:14-15; Mt 16:13-18) Did the apostles and the Jewish people believe in reincarnation!? (see Jn 9:1-2) But then Jesus said to them: “But you, who do you say that I am?” And Peter, always ready, answered, “You are the Messiah, [the Son of the living God].” Then Yeshua strictly charged the disciples not to tell anyone about Him! They still did not know what it meant that He was the Messiah. They were still not seeing clearly or understanding; but they knew now that He is the one of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote. The Son of God did not come to become famous or popular. Again we see that God’s ways are not like those of men or women who think more highly of themselves than is suitable. (Rom 12:2-3) In Matthew’s gospel, he adds that Yeshua told Simon Peter that his confession of the revelation of who Yeshua is did not come from flesh and blood, but from Yeshua’s Father in Heaven; that is, from God. This is the foundation upon which the Lord builds His household of faith, against which not even death can overcome the believers. (Mt 16:16-18; 1Jn 2:20-25)
Yeshua began to teach the apostles the truth about what it meant that He was Messiah. In Jewish teaching and expectation at that time, there were those who thought that the Messiah would come as a conquering King, the son of David. Others taught that the Messiah would come — not necessarily from David’s line (1Kg 12:16) — and overthrow the Roman enemy and occupiers, freeing Israel and the Jewish people from foreign domination to be a free people in their own land. The mystery of the cross and of the gospel was hidden from them, and now Yeshua had come — the truth, the life, and the way. Yeshua told them that being the Messiah meant, firstly, that He was going to “suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”. All of their prior understanding of the Messiah had been false or distorted. This is what gives rise to false Messiahs/Christs – being deceived about the truth of the Messiah/Christ being Yeshua/Jesus.
(Tonight is Lag B’Omer – the 33rd day of the counting of the sheaves of wheat between the Passover week and Shavuot/Pentecost. This day is a celebration of a false prophet and of a false Messiah. Rabbi Akiva claimed that Bar-Kochba was the Messiah, who was going to defeat the Romans and regain the holy city of Jerusalem. Yet the rabbi – who was burned at the stake — is still considered one of the sages of Judaism, and everyone knows now that Bar-Kochba was not the Messiah. Orthodox Judaism even forbids marriages during this period until after this truly pagan fire holiday!)
We know that these closest disciples never did “hear” the words, “and after three days rise again”, because until they actually saw Jesus after His resurrection, they had believed that His death brought an end to their hope that He was, in fact, the Redeemer. (Mt 28:17; Mk 16:11-14; Lk 24:13-32; Jn 20:24-25)
Peter, who had just been blessed for confessing the revelation from God the Father, was now speaking on behalf of Satan when he rebuked Yeshua, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Mt 16:22) Yeshua then rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”. The devil was quick at work to try to steal the Word which Yeshua had sown into the heart of His dear followers. (Mk 4:14-15) It was God’s plan and good pleasure that His Son would be the sacrifice to atone for the sins of every man, woman, and child. (Is 53:10-12)
Jesus then spoke to all of the people there, with his disciples, and told them all what it would mean for all who confess in faith and become followers of Yeshua the Nazarene (not, the Nazirite); and He connects it with His second coming: we will have to deny ourselves and pick up our own crosses to follow Him; we will have to be willing to die for Him and for the gospel; the whole world is not the value of even one soul; we must not be ashamed or embarrassed about Jesus or of His words. (Lk 9:26; Rev 3:8) Remember that even many of His disciples had been offended and embarrassed by His hard sayings regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood. (Jn 6:53-69) In today’s post-modern and post-Christian world, the Bible – God’s Word – is under attack; the exclusivity of Jesus being the only way to God the Father is attacked; the truth that God remains faithful and committed to His covenant promises to Israel is attacked; the truth that homosexuality is still a sin is under attack. Believers are to stand with the Lord and His words in this “adulterous and sinful generation”.
What are some lessons for us in knowing who Yeshua is?:
–Before we became believers we did not understand what it means for someone to be the Messiah, especially that Jesus is the Messiah. He is not the Messiah that we expected. That being so, we bore false testimony against Him, simply by denying that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. (Ex 20:16; Dt 5:20)
–Yeshua told Peter that his clear acknowledgement of Him being the Messiah was a revelation from the Father. It was not something that was being taught; it was not something that could be simply intellectually figured out. The demons and the devil already knew who Yeshua was; they were not deceived like people are.
Each person needs this revelation of who Yeshua is. It is not enough to grow up hearing about Him, or even being taught. If that were all that was needed, then every person who has been brought up in a Christian or Messianic home or society would know that the Messiah/Christ is Yeshua/Jesus. But they do not. It requires a revelation from the Father. If any of you here do not yet see clearly who Jesus is, ask the Father to reveal Him to you. Ask the Lord to heal your spiritual blindness. It is essential if you are going to be capable of truly being His disciple and not ashamed of Him or His words. This gives confidence when He will come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
–There is unity among the believers who have this revelation. All of the apostles were brought to that point of certainty regarding who Yeshua was/is. Even Thomas; even Judas Ishcariot. Whatever each of the apostles and the people had understood before that ‘valley of decision’, the Good Shepherd was going on from there. They were going on together from there with the Lord breaking through before them. If they were to begin arguing or discussing things as they had previously understood them, the Lord was going on from there. He was not going back. This unified the disciples. It still did not guarantee covenant faithfulness to Yeshua or to His way. Sin is a dreadfully strong slave master!
It is my conviction that the Body of Messiah is in need of another such revelation from the Father that is going to bring unity to the disciples of Yeshua at this time. There are many differing and opposing interpretations of what is going on in these last days, and of Israel’s part, of believers in Jesus’ part, and of the abiding truth of the Word of YHVH God. Just as the truth of Messiah was written in the Scriptures – but not understood – so, too, is the truth of where God is now in His plan of redemption also written in the Old and the New Testaments – but divisively not agreed upon. We need a common, corporate, Holy Spirit revelatory moment to bring us together in His truth and love to enable us to do effectively what the Lord has called us to for His glory and purpose. There will still be Thomases and Judases among us (Lord, have mercy on me!), but the power needed to stand as one in this adulterous and sinful generation until the Day of Messiah necessitates such a revelation. Let us love one another in the hope we have in our God. And let us stand in the truth that we do know: Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God. Yeshua is LORD, to the glory of God the Father!
We were blind, but now we see. Praise God!
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)
Gen 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that Yehovah God made the earth and the heavens.
Dt 6:4-5 Hear, O, Israel. Yehovah our God, Yehovah is one. (5) And you shall love Yehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Ex 4:22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says Yehovah: Israel is My son, My first-born.
Isa 48:16 Come near to Me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. From its being, I was there; and now the Lord Yehovah, and His Spirit, has sent Me.
Mat 12:31-32 Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. (32) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come.
Mat 28:19 Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Jn 14:6-11 Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. (7) If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him. (8) Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. (9) Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father? (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The Words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works. (11) Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves.
Jn 17:3-6 And this is life eternal, that they might know You, [Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (4) I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. (5) And now Father, glorify Me with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (6) I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Eph 2:14-18 For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, (15) having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them; (16) and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself. (17) And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. (18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Col 1:15-18 He is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation. (16) For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. (17) And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (18) And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things.
1Th 5:23 And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Php 2:8-11 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Belief in some Deity, or God, or gods, is found in every culture of people everywhere. (Today, largely through unfounded belief in evolution, there is a falling away from even this elementary belief.) Which, or What that God (or those gods) is/are has been the primary reason for missionary efforts to take the truth of the one true God to those worshipping idols or, superstitiously, the ‘unknown God’. YHVH God called Israel His witnesses to the Gentiles that they should know HIM, and come under His rule and authority. Yehovah declares that He is the God over all – Heaven and Earth, the seas and all that is in them, the hills and the valleys, the seasons, all created things – living and dead (inanimate). He is the God of gods, Lord of lords, King of kings!
For those who believe what Moses wrote, with help from the Holy Spirit, the knowledge of God was known from the beginning of human history, was brought into strong focus during and after the flood in Noah’s days to those who survived the judgment of the world at that time, and through the Jewish Israeli people, knowledge of the true God has been dispersed throughout the world until today. The creation itself bears witness to the truth of a Creator God – of a Father in Heaven – that is great, loving, caring, and protective of all that He has created and made, and who requires especially humans to willingly choose to acknowledge Him and rightly give Him praise and glory.
The idea of one God who is three could only be known by revelation from God Himself. The very first sentence in the Bible (in Hebrew it is especially clear) we have already a clue to something very unusual: a plural God (Elohim) who singularly created (bara)! We see the Jewish people, to whom He first revealed Himself through His covenant relationship with them, reject the belief of a ‘triune’ God who is one in order to “prove” by natural (with satanic help!) reasoning why Jesus cannot be truly God with us in the flesh – Immanuel. In Islam, too, the other monotheistic world religion, the thought that God would ever humiliate Himself to become a mere Man or to need a son is blasphemy. Praise God that as the Father He gives His inheritance to His first-born Son and the many brethren with Him! Only true believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, hold to the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints. It is the lying, antichrist spirit that rejects this supreme and profound truth, which YHVH God Himself has revealed about who He is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Holy is His name!
I remember when I first got saved, I asked Dwight, who led me to the Lord: “If Jesus is God and the Son of God, where was the Father during those years while Jesus was here?” Dwight answered simply by saying, “Someone had to take care of the universe.”
All relationships and communication begin in YHVH God, who speaks within/between/among Himself as a Father to a Son, and of the Holy Spirit equally active in God’s creation, in the resurrection of Yeshua, in the new birth of one who repents and believes the gospel. The one, true, living God sometimes refers to Himself in the singular, at other times in the plural, e.g., “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion. . . .”; “ I am YHVH your God; you shall have no other gods before Me.” All of human relationships in family and in society are founded in God Himself, who made us in His image and likeness. He spoke to Adam as a father to a son to instruct him in boundaries of what is permitted and what is not. He has given instructions on family, on government, on moral discipline, on judgment. It all begins in and from Him. YHVH is God to be feared and worshipped, King to be respected, Lord to be obeyed, Father to be honored and loved.
In YHVH is male and female, for He said, “So God created Man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God gave them dominion over the world He created; but He gave the man the rule over the woman, and over the household. This is the picture of God as, first of all, the Source of all things, and with the male – the Father, the husband, the ‘man’ – having primary responsibility. For us who believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we understand things by first believing what He says of Himself, and of us, and of the world He created and made.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught them to come to God as their Father, not as their Mother. Nor did He teach us to pray in a generic sense to “our God”, as if to include all the Trinity in that plural word, Elohim/Eloheinu. As a son, Yeshua committed and subjected Himself to honor His Father in all things, which is the right attitude — humility — for all human beings, whether male or female, whom God created to enjoy Him and all that He has made. It is the Father who is the provider and protector of the family, with the mother having her authority and freedom to act and to help by willingly agreeing and accepting the will of the Father and Husband (idealistically speaking). When Jesus was told that His mother and brothers and sisters wanted to see Him, He answered that His mother and brothers and sisters were those who do His Father’s will. The Holy Spirit lives in the born-again believer, and gives honor to the Father and the Son, not to Himself. (Interestingly, in Hebrew the word for ‘spirit’ is feminine, but when referring directly to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, it is always in the masculine.)
From the moment that we are born-again, we receive the spirit of adoption, and so call God our Father, “Abba”. It is very interesting to me that many Israeli Jews, in times of stress, call out “Ima!”, Mother! Yeshua told us that if we do not receive Him, we do not have the Father, either, and in this most fundamental relationship of God with His people, the sin of unbelief and subsequent disobedience to His Word has brought in this separation, which is only repaired and healed through knowing God the Father by knowing Yeshua/Jesus His Son, and ‘They’ give the Holy Spirit to live within the forgiven sinner! By this, we know that we are children of God, and that we have become one spirit with Him. (1Cor 6:17)
There are many examples which God has given to show the possibility of “three being one”: as human beings, we are spirit, soul, and body, yet one person; Time is present, past, and future, all three ‘elements’ needed to be what we know as ‘time’; Water can be in the form of liquid, ice, or steam, yet they are each and all water, H2O. The Holy of Holies, and the New Jerusalem, are perfect cubes, whose measurements of length, height, and width are equal. These speak of where God dwells, in His Temple, in His House. In the New Heavens and New Earth, God and His glory are said to be all and in all: 1x1x1=1. There are many more examples which could be given, but these are enough to simply show that the idea of three being one is not strange to us, even if no example fully explains the mystery that is God. We must believe what He has revealed about Himself; He can not be known by human wisdom or scientific research, yet He has placed it into us to seek for Him.
Why is it so important that we believe in the “Trinity”, and in God as Father?
First of all, it is because YHVH, the only true God worthy of the name, has described Himself in this way. God is spirit, and for us to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for us to approach Him without the idolatry of our own understanding as opposed to faith in His revelation, it is necessary that we learn what this great foundational truth of the mystery of God is. God is Light, whom no one can see; Jesus came in the form of man (even as a willing slave!) so that we could know God, know the Father. The Holy Spirit is given us that we can be true and faithful witnesses of the one true God and Savior, and to be conformed into His image and likeness, for the Spirit of God knows the things of God. (1Cor 10:10-12)
It is important so that we do not separate the God of the New Testament from the God of the Old Testament. All of the covenants given to Israel as a nation, or to individuals, such as Abraham, Aaron, and David, within the nation, are from the same God. The New Covenant in Jesus Christ is first promised to Israel, and Jesus came in the flesh as the Son of YHVH God, the Creator and Redeemer of all. Jesus is the Word of God, by Whom all things were created and for whom are all things. There is only one true God of the Bible – YEHOVAH, who was, and is, and is to come!
Relationally, as members of the Body of Messiah/Christ, we have a closer relationship with God than even Israel knows. All of the great prayers of the Tanach are addressed to the great God Yehovah, God of Israel, who keeps covenant. In the New Testament, we see a change: most of the prayers are addressed to the Father, in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ, on behalf of both Jewish and Gentile believers. If I speak of my father, I may tell you his name; but when I speak to my father, I call him ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’. So, too, now with God: He is no longer just YHVH, who is ‘the Father’ in a general way (the father of all flesh and of all spirit), but He has become my Father in Heaven because of the fellowship I can have with Him, and with the Son, by the Spirit of God dwelling in me through a personal faith in who Jesus Christ is: my Lord and my God who has redeemed me and saves me from my sins. Jesus came to reveal God as our Father. Glory to God, and to the Lamb upon the Throne! In both Judaism and in Islam, neither one ‘has the Father’ because of rejecting the Father’s love and choice of Jesus and of Israel as His unique Son and nation. (Think of the brothers of Joseph and their relationship to their father in connection with their attitude and intentions towards the beloved son.) In a spiritual sense today, both Muslims and unsaved Jews are “fatherless”, the former deliberately, by harboring a spirit of rejection nurturing a bitter root and a murderous grudge; the latter unwittingly, due to envy and hatred without a cause. Both conspire and mingle together against Yehovah and His Anointed One.
Knowing God for who He is helps us in our own interpersonal relationships: love is the key, whether as a husband or a father, a wife or mother, a child, a steward for God over what He has given us responsibility for in the world that He made. He sends us out to bring others into His household and family! God the Father is the perfect father, and we must know Him and His ways as an antidote to the imperfections of our earthly fathers!
Heb 12:1-11 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. (3) For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. (4) You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons,
“My son, despise not the chastening of YHVH, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; (6) for whom YHVH loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? (8) But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For truly they chastened us for a few days according to their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. (11) Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it.
God is our Father, whom we know in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Yehovah is one, and His name one.
Following the celebrations of the Passover and the Firstfruits – the death and the resurrection of the Messiah and Lord — believers all around the world are rejoicing in the risen Savior, having begun the 50-day (7-week) count till Shavuot/Pentecost. For many people then – 1985 years ago – and now, such a thing as the resurrection is only a rumor, or a myth, idle chatter, or impossible. Even for the closest disciples of Yeshua, the 11 apostles, it was “too good to be true”!
Jesus had told them that He would be crucified, put to death, and that He would rise again and meet them in Galilee. Yet when the event actually took place, their hearts were hardened and would not even believe the testimony of their own friends who had seen Him alive again, talked with Him, touched Him, eaten with Him! Even though He had told them all what was going to happen; even though it was written in the Tanach (Bible)!
Acts 1:1-11 Truly, O Theophilus, I made the first report as to all things that Jesus began both to do and teach (2) until the day He was taken up, having given directions to the apostles whom He chose, through the Holy Spirit; (3) to whom He also presented Himself living after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them through forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (4) And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. (5) For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (6) Then, indeed, these coming together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, do You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (7) And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. (8) But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (9) And saying these things, as they watched, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight. (10) And while they were looking intently into the heaven, He having gone, even behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, (11) who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into the heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the way you have seen Him going into Heaven.
Jesus showed Himself alive to the 11 men whom He especially chose and sent (and afterward Saul/Paul) to be His witnesses to the Jewish people first, and also to the Gentiles. By proving day-by-day for 40 days that it was He Himself who had died and risen from the dead, then it was no longer just a rumor hard to believe. Just as the sheaves of wheat are counted each day from the day of Firstfruits until Shavuot/Pentecost as a “confidence builder” for the harvest, so Yeshua, until the day of His ascension, built in the certainty of the truth of His resurrection for the hope in God’s promise of life after death for believers in His Son. (Read the passages at the top of the page.) The good news brought unspeakable joy to their sad and hardened hearts, and prepared them to live and to die for the truth of the gospel in the face of fierce opposition, ridicule, and persecution. (Remember the Samaritan men who came out to see Jesus after the Samaritan woman at the well had gone back to tell them that she had met the Messiah: they went to Him, and heard and saw for themselves, saying, “Now we believe not only because you told us, but we have heard for ourselves.”)
Paul writes later that Jesus showed Himself alive to more than 500 people at one time together. In many ways the gospel writers wrote how the Lord clearly showed that He was indeed alive after having been dead and buried for three days. He had defeated the devil, sin, and death, and was indeed the Son of God who had come into the world to save His people from their sins. He is the King of Israel, Messiah, Son of David.
Do you believe? Do you know without doubt that Yeshua Messiah is alive – risen from the dead and now seated at the right hand of the Father – and that He is the Savior of the world, including being your own Savior from sin and death?
Have you believed what is written in the Scriptures, both the Tanach and the New Testament? Have you believed when your friends or family members told you that it is true?! At least one of Yeshua’s apostles doubted that the truth was true: Thomas was not with the other apostles when the Lord first appeared to them all, and he said that unless he actually saw Him and the nail prints in His hands, and put his finger into the print and into His side, then he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared again to all of the apostles, this time including Thomas. Jesus told him to do what he had said, and said to him, “Do not be unbelieving, but believing”. Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (Jn 20:24-29)
For those of you who still are not certain and still unbelieving, is it because your heart is hardened to the Holy One of Israel to whom all must give an account on the day of judgment? Is it because He is holy, and requires that His people be holy? Is it because you have too much love for this world? Is God’s plan interfering with your own plans or ambitions?
For those of you who say you believe, can you testify of having seen God working in your life and in the life of others: answering prayers, healing sickness, giving hope and comfort through suffering and loss, protecting you from harm, blessing you beyond all expectation and “worthiness”, forgiving you your sins and giving you power and faith to forgive others their sins?
Do you have living faith and hope that Jesus is coming again to put away evil from the world that He created and made? Do you love Him enough that you want Him to come again?
Why is this hope and expectation important for believers? In the passage we read in Acts, before Jesus was about to ascend to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and before the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit, the seal of the New Covenant relationship, their first question to Him was concerning the restoration of the Kingdom of God to Israel, the very thing that the Lord taught them (and us) regarding how to pray. It was also a very logical question by Israeli Jews, who were taught to expect that when the Messiah, Son of David, would come, He would bring YHVH God’s peace and righteous rule again to Israel. When Jesus did go up in their sight into Heaven, the two men dressed in white standing by them said, “This same Jesus/Yeshua, who was taken up from you into Heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.” (v. 6,11)
The return of the Lord Jesus Christ and our resurrection or rapture (whichever applies personally at the time of the First Resurrection) is the hope and expectation of all true believers. The Lord’s Supper reminds us, as often as we take it, that Yeshua is coming again. The whole life of Messiah and the gospel is summed up in the Communion: for Yeshua to have died, He had to be born a human being; for Him to come again, He has to be alive by being raised from the dead; by coming again, He has to be ‘somewhere else’ now — in Heaven, the place from where He first came: God appeared in flesh and blood. The last prayer of the Bible is, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”
Do you believe the Word of God concerning the things to come? Will you be ready to endure to the end by faith that overcomes the world in the blood of the Lamb and our confession of Jesus as LORD/YHVH?
God has a plan for restoring His kingdom over Israel, and the whole Earth, even the universe. Yeshua is alive, and He is coming back in great power and glory! For this we are here: Yeshua’s witnesses to bring more people into His Kingdom; God’s sons and daughters to grow to full maturity in preparation for our Bridegroom’s return.