THE NEW MOON: COVERED, OR REVEALED?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FEASTS OF YHVH AND THE FINAL HARVEST

The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross was the fulfillment of all the sacrifices:  sin, transgression (guilt), peace, etc.  His death in history fulfilled what God had already ‘done’ before time:  the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8)  Therefore, all of the sacrifices given to Israel in the Torah were based upon that eternally ‘efficacious’ once-for-all sacrifice to be.

Since our salvation is of grace through faith in that sacrifice of Yeshua (Lev 16:30; 23:28-29; Rom 5:1-11), so has this been the lesson to be learned by the Jewish people through the Law and the Prophets, and by Christians through the Gospels and Apostles. Passover was a ‘grace thing’.  NOTHING was spoken about sin.  It was simply a matter of believing and obeying YHVH God, trusting Him to carry out what He was saying to deliver them from a real and felt bondage.  All who simply repent and believe the gospel are saved:  it is all of grace.  Sinners are justified through faith in the Word of God concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The sacrifice of Jesus differs from, and is greater than, the Passover in that it was also a sin and trespass offering, thus fulfilling the Day of Atonements for all who believe.  The Passover occurs during the time of the barley harvest. (Ex 9:31-32)

After Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea, the Law of Moses was then given around Shavuot, the season of the wheat harvest (Ex 34:22).  The blood of the covenant was sprinkled upon the whole people, bringing them into their relationship with YHVH.  The law for sinners was given on external tablets of stone to bring us to know we are in need of God’s grace to forgive us if we are going to have rest and peace within ourselves, and to demonstrate this to others through love of God and of our fellow-man.

After the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was given to the born-again Jewish people at Shavuot/Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit filled and dwelled within the believers, bringing them/us into a more personal and intimate covenant relationship with God, as members of the Body of Messiah.  The law of Messiah on the ground of His death, and His resurrection from among the dead, becomes the basis for our living.

NOW (that is, after knowing the laws and regulations by which to live), Israeland the Church — have been given lots of time to figure out that they are not living up to the standard which we have been given, whether under the Old Covenant, or under the New.  We have all been disobedient, needing God’s mercies.  (Those outside God’s covenants are just that — outside — and are called to come inside.  This includes Jewish people too, since the New Covenant was, and still is, for them.  (Jer 31:31-37; Rom 9:4; 11:27) 

SO, what did the prophets do?  What did John the Baptizer do?  What did Yeshua do?  What do the apostles who wrote most of the N.T. still do, since the Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age?  They called — and still call — firstly the people of God, i.e., Jewish people and Christians to repent – and come back home to the Father — for the Kingdom of God/Heaven is near — for the coming of the Lord [to judge and to establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth] is near!  Based on what? . . .on the Law and the Prophets; on the Sermon on the Mount and the Epistles.

The New Covenant, first offered to Israel, but rejected in the sovereign wisdom of God in order to take the offer to all peoples, brings both Jews and Gentiles to accountability to the one true living God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob/Israel, who is Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, and the Redeemer through His Son, Yeshua the Nazarene.

Gentiles being brought into the Commonwealth of Israel through faith in the King of the Jews (but not becoming Jews or Israelis), both Israelis (Jewish people) and Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile) are being called to get ready through repentance and sanctification as the Memorial of the Blowing of Trumpets is nearing its fulfillment.  While God begins His judgment within His own household first, He is still working through the Great Commission to bring ever more people into His household.  Many more Gentiles will be saved before ‘all Israel’ will be. (Rom 11:25-27)                                                             

BEING SAVED BY GRACE (Passover) IS NOT TO BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED.  THE LAW, THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT, AND THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD, TELL US PLAINLY THAT WE ARE SINNERS WHO NEED TO EXPRESS HEART-FELT THANKS FOR SUCH GRACE AND MERCY (Day of Atonements), AND LIVE OUR LIVES OUT OF LOVE FOR GOD AND JESUS, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, WE LOVE THE BRETHREN ALSO, AND EVEN OUR ENEMIES. 

This being pretty difficult (understatement) to live out, Israel (and also the Church through a corresponding spiritual awakening) has the fulfillment of the Day of Atonements coming (Zech 12:10-14), when they deeply know and are afflicted in soul, both personally and collectively, for their sin and rebellion against YHVH God and against Jesus (Lev 26:40-43), against His commandments and judgments. (Rom 1:28,32; Jude; Rev 2:18 – 3:22, for some examples)

Yom Kippur is the conviction and the confession that we are sinners, that it is only the grace of God through His own righteousness, demonstrated by the foundational Passover sacrifice to bring us into that relationship with Him through faith expressed through obedience, which grants us forgiveness and life. 

There is only one atonement for all — accomplished on the cross — but God in His love and wisdom has worked out His redemptive plan to bring us humans into a knowledge — no longer innocence — of Him and His ways so that we mature into sons and daughters — and even to being the Bride of the Lamb for those who “overcome [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”. (Rev 12:11)

On this ground of a cleansed and forgiven people — not only as a matter of doctrine or covenant promise, but of living faith in God’s provision of His blood sacrifice — YHVH, whose name is Holy, can dwell in the midst of His chosen people, and they will be then a blessing to the other nations, glorifying Him who has done it!  This is the fulfillment of the Feast of Booths (a temporary, semi-enclosed covering; not really ‘tabernacles’, which is another word, and carries a different connotation) for Israel as the Israel of God during the Millennial Kingdom yet to come.  This final feast/appointed time of YHVH for Israel celebrates the joy of all the harvests with the final fruit ingathering, and the prosperity which God supplies to and through His people. (Dt 16:13-15)

For the Church, the Bride of Christ, it is possible to say that we are already a ‘tabernacle’ of the Holy Spirit — an enclosed dwelling place for God — and those who have that blessedness to have part in the first resurrection will truly have the fullness of the Spirit (rather than ‘mere’ firstfruits Rom 8:23), and will rule and reign with Messiah over Israel and the nations during that final Sabbath Day of history and time, to bring everything to its culmination of the final harvest of souls, either to live forever with Yeshua in the New Heavens and New Earth, and New Jerusalem, in the abundant life God has planned for all who love Him (1Cor 2:9; Is 64:4; Jn 10:10); or else to exist forever separated from God in outer darkness, where the worm does not die, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.” (Jn 15:16-17)

THE WAY OF THE CROSS – 3 Sep 2010

Phlp 3:8-21   . . .fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; . . .follow our example,    not those who are enemies of the cross  

Lk 14:27   Whosoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.   

As believers we are called to a close and intimate walk with the Lord Jesus Christ – the LAMB OF GOD; the SACRIFICIAL LAMB – who came to show us the WAY to God the Father.  Jesus/Yeshua IS THE WAY!   

This call to be a DISCIPLE is to all of us, but we learn from the N.T., including the verses we have read, that not all believers become disciples.  Not all believers are overcomers.  Not all believers produce the same amount of fruit.  THESE ARE NOT ISSUES OF OUR SALVATION BEING ASSURED THROUGH TRUE FAITH IN JESUS!   

But there is something crucial in the life and experience of Jesus that we must identify with, and that is His suffering (isurim – moral, redemptive discipline), which is possible only as we know Him in the power of His resurrection, and the hope that gives to all who believe.  I do not mean here, nor do I believe that we are taught by the Holy Spirit, to deliberately  suffer physically in order to identify or participate in His sufferings.  Some Christians beat themselves on their backs in an effort to “fellowship in Messiah’s sufferings”, or they deny themselves by subjecting themselves to regulations of deprivation. (Col 2:20-23)  This is not what I mean, whatever else I am meaning.   

We have been studying the parables of Yeshua as He uses them to teach the mysteries of the Kingdomof God.  What we have begun to see is that there is evil at work within God’s kingdom at the present time – evil which is being allowed by God until the end.  What I want to suggest is that this in itself is a/the source of Messiah’s sufferings. . .and of ours as we fellowship in them as being one with Him. 

Let’s just look at a few things to help understand a bit more:

1.  Yeshua came in human form to be crucified to take away the sin of the world, to receive forgiveness from God for our sins, and to defeat the works of the devil.   This suffering of death and separation from God His Father is beyond our comprehension, yet we join together this evening in the Lord’s Supper, it is HIS DEATH that we remember until He comes.  

2.  God is GOOD, yet the devil has worked much to have most people think otherwise.  This is the suffering of a grieving heart.  

3.  God is LIGHT, yet Jesus tells us that too many people prefer the darkness because their deeds are evil.  This is suffering over the hardness of the human heart.  

4.  God is LOVE, yet most people reject His love, and turn love into a ‘me first’ mentality, and an act of the flesh.  

5.  God has GOOD NEWS of a Savior and of salvation, but most people are not really interested.  

6.  The WORD OF GOD IS TRUTH, but most people treat it as an opinion, or as something to ignore.  

7.  JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, yet Satan works to steal the glory for himself, or for mere men.

8.  YHVH God and Jesus are blamed for the horrible state of the world, rather than blaming ourselves and the devil.  

9.  Constantly confronted with opposition from sinners, serving as a chastening for the children of God  (Heb 12:1-11).  How many times are we tried by those around us who are, in fact, sinning, and at other times simply by those brothers and sisters whose ways irritate us:  they are “sinning”.  God our Father uses these experiences to teach us obedience as sons/daughters to learn to obey Him in a redemptive way to conform us to the image of His Son.  

10.  Too many within Israel and the Church – both being the ‘people of God’ – do not even feel the pain, the suffering, over the bad name our Great God and Savior has in the world which He made, and for whom He died to make possible the perfect new creation for eternal life with Him. 

11.  Jesus is coming again to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth as in Heaven, but many in the Church are making their own plans and agendas as if His coming is only a possibility, not a certainty.  The government will be on HIS shoulder, and without Him we can do nothing to truly fulfill God’s purposes.  

12.  “How long must I suffer you!” (Mt 17:17; Mk 9:19; Lk 9:41)  This is the Messiah our Lord Himself expressing His human exasperation over the continual unbelief of even His disciples.  Praise God for His longsuffering towards us!  

Brothers and sisters, our Lord and God loves us and is calling us to fully identify with Him, neither being ashamed or afraid or indifferent.  Our salvation is assured if we have truly repented and put our whole-hearted trust in God that Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood for us and for our sins, and He is risen from the dead, alive forevermore!  Our walk with the Lamb is not intended to be ‘comfortable’, and certainly not to be taken for granted.  We learn these things from the parables and from all the other teachings in the Scriptures.  

Our confidence grows as our feelings and relationship grow – both with the Lord Himself through the Holy Spirit, and also with our brothers and sisters in the faith.  If we do not love one another, then neither do we love the Father or His only-begotten Son.  Our faith is not only a personal matter between me and God, but must be seen in my love for one another in Christ, and for them who are still lost.  

Heb 10:19-35   

There is security for those who commit themselves fully to the Lord and to our redemptive suffering for His sake.  The appointed time of the Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets begins soon.  God is calling His people to gather together as a people, as a family, and to repentance – not just one day or period of days each year, but everyday — preparing ourselves to be fully in His presence.

FORGIVENESS AND THE FEAR OF GOD – 15 Sep 2007

Ps 130   If You, YAH, should keep track of iniquities, who could stand, O Lord?  But there is forgiveness with You, so that You may be feared.

Mk 2:5-12   Your sins are forgiven. . . . .Who can forgive sins but God alone?!

Is 33:22   YHVH is our Judge; YHVH is our Lawgiver; YHVH is our King; He will save us!

Mt 1:21   …He shall be called Yeshua, for he will save His people from their sins (iniquities).

YHVH God is our Judge, and He alone has authority to forgive our sins and transgressions and iniquities.  The Father has given all authority to His Son Yeshua/Jesus, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father (Jn 5:22-23).  Jesus has also said that even He will not judge us, but that the Word He has spoken will judge us on the last day (Jn 12:47-48).

As Israel and the Jewish people around the world observe what are called the Days of Awe from their New Year (or, Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets) through the Day of Atonements, God has given His people to consider the state of their souls (heshbon nefesh) before their fellow man and before their Creator God who alone redeems and saves His people and countless others from amongst humanity.

Forgiveness of sin is absolutely necessary in order to be in right relationship with God and with others in our lives.  Without forgiveness, there is no fellowship, no joy or freedom in that person’s presence.  Only YHVH forgives iniquities so that He may be feared and revered!  He alone is righteous, therefore He alone has been the ultimate object of sin– or, the offended Person. 

Being that YHVH is a Savior from sin in His righteous judgment and love, He also can demand of us who are His sons and daughters that have been created anew in His image must also be willing to forgive from our hearts those who have sinned against us.  Otherwise, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us either when we sin; in fact, that is the transgression:  unforgiveness.  Our Father is saying, “Why should I forgive you your sin which you are asking me to do, when you are not willing to forgive another person their sin against you?

The fear of God brings with it respect for those in authority because they have power over our lives to reward or to punish.  In other words, they are our judges.  Parents have responsibility to discipline their own children in order to instruct them in right and wrong; teachers have authority over children not in their own families to discipline them in order to maintain order in a classroom; school principals have authority over teachers and can determine whether or not they remain in their profession; government rulers can place lawbreakers into prison.  If we respect authority and those who have it, God can entrust us with authority over others.  Sin is lawlessness, which acknowledges no higher authority over it (them).  There is no fear; they feel no obligation under God, who is the Judge of all the Earth, to either ask for forgiveness or to grant forgiveness.

The one true God has spoken that the Word of God will judge every one on the last day (Heb 4:12-13).  The Lord Jesus tells us not to fear him who can kill our bodies, but to fear Him who can not only kill our bodies but also cast our souls into Hell. (Lk 12:5)

While Jewish people are still seeking their own righteousness, we who believe in God’s righteousness know that the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins has made us aware of how horrible sin is to our holy Father, and how true it is that all persons should fear God, who alone can forgive sin and change our whole life to love Him who has first loved us.  Our God is full of grace and truth.  How can we ever again turn our backs on Him again?!  Let the lovingkindness of God take deep root within our inmost being, and live in the full knowledge of Him who has brought us out of darkness into His glorious light.

Receiving forgiveness from God for previously rejecting His only way of coming back to Him is truly a ‘new year’, a new beginning where, forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, we can press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  The fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge, of understanding, and of wisdom.

IN THE LOVE OF THE FATHER

Mt 6:9-13   Our FATHER, who art in Heaven. . ..  

Jesus begins to teach us about God our Father in the Sermon on the Mount.  He speaks to us as if we are to know already or to begin to realize that we are to relate to God as our Father – not a distant Master, but a close and personal Father.  The tone in which the Son of God speaks of His Father to us is of one who loves His father, and who knows that His father loves him.  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!”  We come to God in prayer, and we come to Him as our Father in Heaven, as His child.  

This relationship and fellowship between a father and his son is the most basic of all human and divine satisfaction.  Do you remember what the apostle Philip said to Jesus as the Lord was explaining to His companions — His brethren! – that He was going back to His Father?  “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us!”  This relationship of KNOWING our Father, and of having His approval, His acceptance, meets the deepest need within every human being since the beginning of the creation, when God, as a Father, created Adam in His image and in His likeness – a son of God.  Then sin came in and people began to be sons of Man, of Adam.  It requires the new birth through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to become new creations and to have the Spirit of GOD dwell within us, by which we call God our Father.  Jesus brings us home.  

Look at how the devil and the world attack true fatherhood. . . through adultery, divorce, wives who do not respect their husbands, fathers who will not provide for their families, fathers who do not trust God and so work too much to have any personal relationship and fellowship with their children – not to mention with their wives and the mother of the children.  Leaders like Hitler and the leader of North Korea become so-called ‘fathers’ to their nations, and pervert the true image of fatherhood.  People in the church become ‘fathers’ to their disciples – their ‘children’, so that you have some who say they follow Luther, others say they follow the Pope, others who follow Darby, others who say ____.  The Lord told us to consider no one ‘Father’ is this manner, or to close ourselves off to the whole of those whom He has given to the church to build us up and to bring us to maturity.  Messiah is not divided, and we are one body with one ‘Great Teacher’ (Rabbi) and one Father, our God in Heaven.  Paul calls such divisions carnal and not spiritual; childish and not mature.  These things only bring strife within the family rather than unity and love and thankfulness to the praise of the glory of God.  

God, our perfect Father, morally disciplines us in order that we partake of His holiness, that we become more like His beloved Son, who always honored His Father and gave joy to Him through His willing obedience to His will.  There is a time when we must leave our natural father’s house and have our own personal relationship with God as our Father, so that we are led by the Spirit and not by the ‘traditions of the fathers’.  If we are led by God’s Spirit, we are called sons of God, and He will always have us honor our fathers and mothers, even as we go forward into the fullness that God has purposed for us as a mature one new man corporately in Christ.  The Holy Spirit leads us into all the truth, which requires us to continue to let Him teach us and lead us from generation to generation as He progresses in the revelation of God’s purpose.  

Rom 5:1-11   There is FULL ACCEPTANCE by God the Father for those who believe in and love His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knows what we are like!  We rejoice in the hope of the glory of GOD.  

God is now your Father and mine; He accepts us fully, and expects us – requires us – to love one another.  If we are truly FAMILY, we will love one another for our Father’s sake, and for the sake of Christ who died for you and for me, and for the sake of the gospel so that others can see the truth of Jesus in us.  Jesus left us a memorial to remember how it is that each of us is accepted by God:  we remember that Yeshua died for our sins and God has justified us through faith in that.  What a truth that sets us free and sanctifies us when we really know it and believe it!  It is a table to which the brethren sit together in unity with deep appreciation and worship of our great God and Savior, who has shown us such love that He calls us sons and daughters!  

Our primary relationship to each other in Christ is as brothers and sisters.  This is a family which God is creating for Himself.  Jesus says that those who do His Father’s will are His mother and brothers and sisters.  It is not based on our spiritual gifts, positions of ministry within the congregation, our language or culture, our education.  It is not based on our knowledge of the Bible or of what kind of soldier or fisher or farmer we are in God’s order of things.  

Our conduct towards one another must be first and foremost based on our being in God’s family together.  We are to show respect to one another even as we want to be respected; we must love one another even as we want – need – to be loved.  For those who do have more responsibility in overseeing and in serving the church, all the more are to realize this fundamental relationship we have with each other if we are to have the peace and joy within us.  Family members sometimes – even many times – quarrel or disagree.  But if we truly love our Father and know His heart, His love, for each of us, then we will work things through, we will not allow the devil or ourselves to be causes of stumbling to others.  

Brothers and sisters, we are entering a time in which our Father is calling His elect from whatever stream they may be in to come unto Him.  Let us have the love of the Father in us so that we will demonstrate to one another that we accept each other even as He does.  Yes, He will chasten us; yes, we will have our disagreements; but we come together to please our Father and our Lord.  

Let us understand the Word of God to us and know our Father’s heart.  Be strong in the joy of Yeshua, who showed us God’s love for sinners like His disciples and like us. . .and He is not ashamed to call us brethren.  God’s banner over us is love.

REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR! – 23 Sep 2006

Before I became a believer I used to wonder why we as Jewish people made what we call the Jewish New Year – but what the God of Israel calls the first day of the seventh month – so important.  It was one of the two times of the year that my family went to synagogue every year, along with Yom Kippur.  One day it occurred to me that “Someone” is keeping us, preserving us, watching over us, and this “God” has brought us through another year and is giving us another one.  It makes sense, then, that if this were true, we as individuals and as a nation, as a people, owe Him thanks and should be mindful of Him whom we believed to be good, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present.   

Dt 31: 21   God knows the inclination of our behavior even before He chose us and before He brings us into  the inheritance of the land He has sworn by covenant to give to those who place their trust in Him

REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR!  SHUVU BIT’SHUVA KI KARVAH MALCHUT SHAMA’IM!

Throughout the whole of the Scriptures, YHVH God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, calls His people to hear (obey) His voice, confess their sin against Him, and He will bless them with His peace, with His presence.  He will be their/our God, and they/we will be His people.  This is His covenant promise to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants, as well as to all others who come to Him in the same way by faith through the Messiah Yeshua.   

Lev 26:40-42   Moses, from the beginning  
Joel 2:12-19   towards the end
Ps 32:1-7   David, as individuals
Dan 9: 24   God’s time-table; the appointed times/holidays are prophetic signs
Mt 3:1-3   John the Baptiser, preparing the way of the Lord
Mt 4:17   Yeshua Messiah
Acts 2:36-39   Peter after Pentecost
Acts 17:26-31   Paul to the nations and all peoples
Rev 14:6-7   the angels to all who dwell on the Earth

Memorial of Shouts

Lev 23:24; Num 29:1 YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the one of the month, you shall have a sabbath rest, a Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets, a holy convocation.

Mt 24:29-31,36 Immediately after the tribulation (see v.21) of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in Heaven, and then all the tribes of the Earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. . . .But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, but My Father only.

1Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mysterywe shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1Thes 4:15-18 For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord:  that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Messiah will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Ps 50:3-6 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all all around Him.  He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His peopleGather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.  Let the Heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge.

Rev 10:6-7 But in the day of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

Rev 11:15-19 Then the seventh angel sounded [the trumpet], and there were loud voices in Heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world have become of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O YHVH God of Hosts, the One Who Is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.  The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants – the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your Name, small and great – and should destroy those who destroy the Earth.”  Then the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and the Ark of His Covenant was seen in His Temple.  And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

Next  week begins what the Jewish people call the New Year, but what the Bible calls the Memorial of Shouts, or of the Blowing [of Trumpets].  This is one of the appointed times of the LORD, and is the beginning of the final set of holy-days to bring Israel to confession of sin and repentance, unity as a people, to put away evil, bring in the harvest of the righteous, and to re-establish God’s Kingdom in Israel and over all the nations of the world (Ps 2).  These times of the LORD to Israel help us as believers in Jesus and the New Covenant to understand God’s plan of redemption and salvation, and His calendar for when these things will be.  The Mishna teaches the Jewish people that the time of the blowing of the trumpets through the Day of Atonements are the “days of awe”, days of judgment when all the inhabitants of the world pass before YHVH God, like flocks of sheep:  They either are chosen to live or to die, depending on their righteousness.

Many Bible teachers connect the “Feast of Trumpets” as marking the time of the rapture of the Church, that this is the next event as far as believers are concerned.  This is both right and wrong!  It is right in that there is a connection between the two; it is wrong to say it marks the time it will happen.  This can be said with certainty because of what is written in Lev 23:24—giving a specific day—and in Mt 24:36—saying that the day is unknown.  Num 10: 1-10 instructs Israel that the blowing of trumpets is for a purpose and also as a memorial for them before God.  They will remember their special covenantal relationship with the LORD, and He will remember them to deliver them from their enemies.

As Jesus has Himself, as the Savior, fulfilled the appointed times of Passover – Unleavened Bread – First Fruits – the beginning of Harvest in their sequence and times; if He is presently by the Holy Spirit fulfilling His work of grace and truth since Weeks/Pentecost; then we should expect that Trumpets – Atonements – the beginning of Booths/Tabernacles will be fulfilled by God in their sequence and times – a matter of days and weeks at the end of the age — as Yeshua is revealed to be the King of the Jews and of all the surviving nations.

As believers in Jesus we are not subject or bound to times and seasons (Acts 1:7; Gal 4:9-11; Col 2:16-17; 1Thes 5:1-10).  Think about it a moment:  if the Lord were to take up the believers to Himself at the time of the new moon of the seventh month, then satan would be waiting and watching on that day each year to guard his household, and believers would be waiting, too.  And if the Lord did not take us up this year, for example, then we would not be expecting Him for at least another year, along with the devil!  Yet we are plainly warned not to wait for a certain day or hour, because this is God’s secret, but rather to hope in faith and love and do His work until He comes, as a servant would His lord or as a bride would her groom.  We can “hasten” the day by wanting Him to come while living in obedience with faith until then! (Heb 9:28)

Israel, though, does have a set time in her calendar given by YHVH Himself to remember a shout (תרועה) at the beginning of the seventh month and preceding the Day of Atonements.  What shout is Israel to remember?  It is here that I want to suggest that God is waking up Israel with this memorial,

  1. to acknowledge and recognize that YHVH God of Hosts has indeed entered the battle to deliver His saints – Jewish and gentile believers who hold faith in Yeshua without seeing — out of the hands of the enemy and of the great tribulation – at the sounding of the 7th trumpet;
  1. to prepare herself for coming judgment and wrath – and the hope of mercy – through repentance and fear for rejecting the truth of God spoken through Moses and the prophets, and especially by Jesus Himself (Jn 15:22), regarding the Messiah, who is none other than Jesus. (Zech 12:10; Lev 23:29; 26:40-42); and
  1. to call upon the name of YJVH, Yeshua the Messiah the Nazarene, for salvation and deliverance out of Jacob’s Trouble, the great tribulation. (Jer 30:7; Mt 24:21-22; Num 10:9; Mt 23:39)

As in the days of bondage in Egypt, the LORD will hear the heart cry of His people in their affliction, and will send the One greater than Moses – Messiah Yeshua – to save His people from their oppressors (Num 10:9) and from their sin and uncleanness on the Day of YHVH, the Day of Atonements.

As believers, we can continue to pray for God to reveal the truth about Yeshua now to the Jews (and Arabs and other gentiles), so that as many as possible can have their part in the first resurrection.

As believers, we do not wait for holidays to direct our lives but rather by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us each and every day, that we, too, will be ready and not ashamed when the Son of Man comes.

The Wall of Separation He’s Broken Down

Lev. 10:3 By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy, and before all the people I must be honored.

Eph 2:11-12 As we continue to let the Tabernacle in the Desert instruct us of God’s pattern for us to approach Him in prayer, the passage from Ephesians notes “the middle wall of separation”, which separated Israel from the other nations.  God in His wisdom separated the people He had chosen and called to Himself from the surrounding heathen peoples of the world in which they lived.  In spiritual reality, the gentiles then were without Messiah, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Israel/the Jewish people are in a similar spiritual condition as the gentiles then, but there is a difference:  Israel is still the nation chosen by God, even if there is a willful collective amnesia regarding that and its significance.

But we remember (Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets) that YHVH spoke the gospel to Abraham when He promised him that, through him, ALL the families of the Earth would be blessed (Gen 12:3).

v. 13-15   But NOW in Messiah Jesus, those who were once far off – spiritually and physically – have been brought near by the blood of  Messiah.  He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, having broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His FLESH the enmity, the law of commandments in ordinances, so as to create in Him ONE NEW MAN from the two, making peace.

NOW, both Jews and all other peoples have access into the court of God’s people, since Jesus died for ALL, and God’s salvation through the forgiveness of sins is offered to ALL (Day of Atonements).

v. 16-17 Jesus came to die that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross (the altar), thereby putting to death the enmity.  Jesus came and preached peace both to those far and near.

How can born-again redeemed Jews be hostile towards the gentiles when once we realize and appreciate that Messiah, the Son of God, died for my and our sins!     How can the gentile Christians remain hostile to Israel and the Jewish people when once they realize and appreciate that, in God’s sovereignty and grace, Israel’s promised Messiah has been shown to be the Savior of the whole world, and given gentiles access to the true living God!

v. 18-19 Through Jesus we both have access by one Spirit to the Father – both in our relationship as sons and daughters, and also in our prayers.  Both Jewish and gentile believers are fellow citizens of God’s Kingdom and members of His family, His household.  All persons, whether or not believers, have been redeemed to God by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this speaks to the reality of the broken down wall of separation.

As we have noted before,  entry into the Holy of Holies –representing symbolically the spiritual reality of Heaven, God’s dwelling place – brings us to God the Father, which Jesus opened up for all believers through the veil, that is, His flesh – firstly by His birth, but foremost by His death on the cross.

v. 20-22 We are being built together as a holy temple in the Lord for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Inwardly, this speaks of the cross and the crucified life being grasped hold of in the life of the born-again believer, in the power of the resurrection, of an endless life unto God, who has cut for us each the New Covenant by forgiving us our sins.  In these things there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, free nor slave, rich nor poor, but rather a new creation.

1Cor 10:17 one bread; one body; priestly intercession for all the Body of Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile

Lev 23:17 two loaves; with leaven.   Shavuot (Weeks) looks ahead to the day when the middle wall of separation and the enmity between God and man, and between Israel and the nations, was broken down by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s Spirit being given to all who believe on Him.

REMEMBERING – 17 Sep 2001

  1. Creation of Universe and of Man (all the way to the Redeemed and New Creation)
    –Shabbat (Ex. 20: 8-11; Deut. 5:12-15)

2.  First sin of Man:  necessitating self-examination and self-judgment – confession, repentance, and prayer

3.  Substitutionary sacrifice of Ram as a sheep led to slaughter for Isaac (Yeshua for us) (Gen. 22)

4.  The Passover and Shavuot, that we were delivered from being slaves to being made free to serve and   worship the LORD in righteousness and holiness (Deut. 16:3, 12)

5.  From whence we have fallen and repent for leaving our first love (Rev. 2: 5)

6.  God’s great and precious promises (2 Pet. 1:4)

7.  To remind the LORD to make Jerusalema praise in the earth (Is. 62: 6-7)

8.  The LORD’s marvelous works, wonders, and judgment (1 Chron. 16:12)

9.  The Covenants of the LORD our God with us (1 Chron. 16:15)

10.  In wrath remember mercy (Hab. 3:2)

11.  The death and coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11: 23-26; Rev. 22:20)

12.  –Remember the New Moon, the promise of Israel’s life from the dead! (Rom 11:15)

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.]