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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s read Mk 4:35-41:

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

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

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

Let’s read Ps 106:9:

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

And Jonah 1:9-16:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s close with Ps 107:21-32:

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN DEFENSE OF CHRISTMAS – 25 Dec 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REVIVALS ARE TEMPORARY – 8 Dec 2012

Hanukkah brought in a revival in Israel.  This revival, like all revivals in Israel and in Church history, was temporary and partial.  The victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenists among the Jewish people reestablished the worship of God without the paganism of the Greek influence, and the altar of the Temple was rededicated to YHVH, from which the name of the holiday came – Hanukkah (which means dedication).

 The hanukkiah (the special candle/lamp stand) differs from the menorah in that the menorah has a central lamp and six other lamps, with three on either side of the central stem; whereas the hanukkiah has nine candles, one of which is called the Shamash/Servant light (which is essentially the same word for the sun/shemesh).  This ‘servant light’ is lit first, and then used to light the other eight candles.  (There is no prescribed order for the arrangement of the lights on the hanukkiah.  Another difference is that the menorah in the Tabernacle and in the two Temples was to always be kept lit.  The hanukkiah is used only during the eight days of Hanukkah, and the tradition is to light the shamash and each of the other candles according to the corresponding days of the holiday.)

The menorah could also be said to be a Christian symbol in that Yeshua refers to the seven churches in Revelation as the seven lampstands (menorote).  Jewish people will buy a hanukkiah, but not usually a menorah, since that was to be a holy vessel to YHVH in the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and Temples.  Christians buy menorahs, but not usually hanukkiahs.

2 Cor 10:4-6   For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,  pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ;  and having readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Just as the Maccabees contended for the true faith then (circa 165-162 BC), so are we today as believers in Jesus.  There is a spiritual war going on concerning Truth, and the Name of the true God and Savior.  The revival which came into Israel through the victory of Hanukkah was, as I have already said, temporary and partial.  In fact, it was the Maccabees themselves who put one of their own relatives on the Throne to rule in Israel.  That may sound reasonable, except that it was against the Torah!  The Maccabees were priests of the Tribe of Levi, but the ruler over Israel was to be of the Tribe of Judah and the House of David.

This is the way of revivals throughout history for the people of God:  they start well, but then the flesh, and even the devil, gets involved and taints what seemed to hold such promise.  Something of the truth is recovered, but something has also been lost, and over time, another revival is needed – like today.

Revival always begin inside the House of God, and that then goes out and spills over to impact the world outside so that others see and hear that the Living God is among His family.  The Holy Spirit convicts people of their unbelief and sins, bringing repentance towards God – either in faith unto salvation, or else in rebellion towards condemnation.

Jn 10:22-42   And the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s Porch.  Then the Jews encircled Him and said to Him, How long do you make us doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.  Jesus answered them, I told you and you did not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you did not believe because you are not of My sheep. As I said to you,  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.  My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one!  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from My Father; for which of these do you stone Me?  The Jews answered Him, saying, We do not stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God.  Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, “I said, You are gods?”  If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken,  do you say of Him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.  But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.  Then they again sought to seize Him, but He went forth out of their hand.  And He went away again beyondJordan into the place where John baptized at the first, and He stayed there.  And many came to Him and said, John indeed did no miracle, but all things that John said concerning this One were true.  And many believed on Him there.

The candles of Hanukkah point to the true Servant and Light of the world and the true Savior.  Candles burn out; the light of the one true God is eternal.  To this the perpetual light of the menorah testifies.  Let us pray and believe with hope for a true Holy Spirit revival among us in love for our Father in Heaven, in anticipation of the last great revival of the harvest when all Israel will be saved, and life from the dead of those who are holy and blessed to have part in the first resurrection at the return of the Lord.

Jude 20-25   But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in the love of God, eagerly awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life.  But pity some, making distinction.  But save others with fear, snatching them out of the fire; hating even the garment having been stained from the flesh.  Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy;  to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty and might and authority, even now and forever.  Amen.

THE OFFENSE OF CHRISTMAS – 23 Dec 2006

Ps 69: 5-9 (6-10 Heb)   O God, You know my foolishness, and my sins are not hidden from You.  Let not those who hope in You, O YHVH God of Hosts, be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God ofIsrael.  Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face.  I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children (Mk 3:21; 6:3).  Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.   

Lk 2: 29-35   [Simeon] took [Yeshua] up in his arms and blessed God and said:  Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your peopleIsrael. . . .Behold, this One is destined for the fall and rising of many inIsrael, and for a sign which will be spoken against, . . .that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.   

–Jesus the Son bears the reproach of God His Father
   –we are to go outside the camp where Messiah is and bear His reproach 

–Great responsibility not to be a cause of stumbling for those seeking truth, for those seeking the true God, or of those whose hope is already in YHVH God of Hosts, the God of Israel
   –important to give our children proofs from the Bible concerning controversial issues, to enable them to stand against those who want to attack generally accepted truths handed down to believers 

–during recent trip to Richmond, I had a number of conversations regarding the truth of Messiah and of the Bible as the inspired Word of God
  –I was called a fundamentalist, as if that was unworthy, by another Christian
  –I was called an extremist, since religion is the cause of so much war and suffering in the world 

–I spoke with two revisionist historians.  They want to be taken seriously.  One of them is a professor.
  –he could not tolerate my belief in history being governed by God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth
  –think that religion is all man-made; that Jews are therefore merely a product of myth; that the God of the O.T. is either a myth, or the embodiment of evil
  –think mankind is on the threshold of making “heaven on earth” through knowledge and technology
    –don’t believe in God, but use a term – Heaven – that comes from Him

God will abase all pride because He – the great God – humbled Himself and was/is humiliated by the pride and foolishness of man.
  –God Almighty came in flesh and blood; born as a baby, in poverty, in weakness
    –What reproach did Mary and Joseph have to bear for being chosen for such a miracle and done in such a way that Miriam was thought to have been unfaithful to Joseph and to the holiness of YHVH?
    –What did the people of Bethlehem think when all the babies were killed by Herod because of hearing that the Messiah, the rightful King of Israel, had been born?
    –Will we stand up for our God and Savior when we are considered strangers and aliens to those we love and care about?

God does not do things to satisfy our own understanding or expectation, but rather for us to take note that He has intervened in the affairs of man for His own holy name’s sake.

JESUS CHRIST IS COME

(Our celebratory service this Shabbat was interrupted by a mob of unruly ultra-orthodox religious Jewish people.)

There was much messianic expectation around the time of Yeshua’s birth (Dan 9:24-26).  Hanukka itself is a holiday commemorating a messianic hope which gives Israel and the Jewish people freedom from their enemies in order to worship YHVH God in an acceptable way in our own land.  Simeon and Anna were waiting in hope for the Redeemer and Savior of the children of Israel and of Jerusalem, the City of the Great King.  False Messiahs also arose about that time (Acts 5:35-39); today also there is Messianic expectation – Moshiach Now! – amongst many Jews and also Muslims and other religious and spiritist groups.  

By the Word of God given to us in the Bible, and by the witness of the Holy Spirit given to us who believe what God says, we know that the only true Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born to the virgin Mary about 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, not so very far from us here in Beer Sheva.  What a great thing for the Almighty God to demonstrate His humble nature by taking on the form of a man, and then humbling Himself by being a servant to men, and dying on the cross, bearing our sins so that we could receive the grace of life!  

We do not believe in mythology or fables, but we have the testimony of real people in history who saw, who heard, who touched, who wrote; and more, we have the testimony of God Himself, who cannot lie, giving His record of His Son, Yeshua; and to seal this truth in those who do believe, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us so that we can know who and what and why we believe.  

Let’s look at some of the reasons given as to why Jesus came in the flesh (1Jn 5:6; 4:2; Acts 1:11):   

Hag 2:18-23; 1Cor 3:11; 2Tim 2:18-19   to lay the foundation of the Temple of YHVH, and to overthrow the kingdoms of this world

Mt 9:12-13; Acts 7:34   not to the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance and to deliver His people from bondage to sin

Lk 4:32-36; 1Jn 3:8   to destroy demonic power and the works of the devil, who is a deceiver, a liar, a murderer, a thief, a destroyer, and full of pride, which is the root of all evil

Jn 4:25; 15:15   to tell us all things which the Father has given Him to reveal for now

Jn 10:10   that His sheep may have life, and life more abundantly

Jn 15:22; 1:1-9   to expose sin; the Light has come into the darkness

1 Tim 1:15; Mt 1:21   to save sinners; His name is Yeshua, the Savior

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Jn 14:28   coming again to take us to Himself

Rev 22:12   coming quickly to judge every man according his works

Worship God in Spirit and Truth – 20 Dec 2003

Jude 3 – contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints

This year we have experienced here in Israel an assault on essential truths of the faith which we have received through the Scriptures.  Our Father in Heaven is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth, and the enemy is seeking to deceive believers – the elect – if it were possible.

The Feast of Dedication (Hanukah) reminds us of the battle within Israel amongst the Jewish people over the worship of God in the Temple.  This was about 160 years before Jesus was born.  The LORD helped the Macabees win the victory to re-establish the worship of God according to the truth as understood under the Law and the Prophets.  But the Macabees, too, were but men like us, and before long, the decline reached to the point of no return.  There remained a remnant that sought true freedom, not only from the Roman powers which the Macabees invited into Israel, but freedom to worship God with all their hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and to see Israel redeemed from all her unrighteousness.

A greater than the Macabees has come, and He is also greater than the Temple.  Jesus came into Israel, and into the world which He made, in order to re-dedicate the true worship of the one true God, and to establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of any who would believe.  It required His death and resurrection and ascension to make this reality in those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit.  Yet the same battle rages today within the Church, the Body of Messiah, as in the days of the Macabees.

I want to look at a few of the issues that we must earnestly contend for in faithfulness to the New Covenant and the revelation of Jesus Christ:

Ex 20:6; Mt 10:37-39; 22:36-40 the Deity of Jesus: we must love Him with all our heart; He is LORD
Rom 10:14; Mt 10:28-33 Evangelism:  we must confess His blessed name to others that they may be saved
Mt 16:15-17; 1Jn 2:20-26,28 Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God
1Jn 4:1-6; Jn 5:18-20; Lk 3:38; Mt 1:1 Jesus Christ came in the flesh: He is the Son of God; He is the Son of Man:  He is the Judge (God is the Judge)
Acts 1:9-11; Lk 9:26 The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again in the body
Jn 14:6; 1Jn 5: 4-5,9-13 Jesus is the only way to God the Father
Heb 6:2; Rev 20:10-15; Mt 25:41-46; Mk 9:42-48; Dan 12:1-2; Is 66:22-24 Everlasting judgment and condemnation for those who will not to believe

To love God is to obey Him.  To love others is to keep the commandments of God.  For us to worship God the Father in spirit and truth, and to love others as we love ourselves, we must uphold these truths of the faith once delivered unto the saints.  The Lord’s Supper is a constant reminder of the shed blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin until He comes again.

The Gospel, The New Covenant, and The Messianic Faith Are Neither Jewish Nor Greek – 19 Dec 1998

Jude 3 – contend earnestly for the faith which was once-for-all delivered to the saints
[Lk 22:19-20]; 1Cor 11:23-26 – remember Yeshua and His death until He comes again

The heart and foundation of the gospel and of the New Testament and of our faith as Christians is Yeshua the Messiah and Him crucified, risen from the dead, ascended to glory, and coming again.  Our sins are forgiven through faith in the once-for-all sacrificial and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  We have fellowship (communion) with God our Father and with His Son, and with one another through the Holy Spirit indwelling all who are born again by the Word and the Spirit of God.

Does this sound like the religious teaching of Judaism?  Does it sound like the wisdom of the world’s great thinkers and philosophers?  NO!  For the cross is an offence to the one born with natural honor and privilege before God, such as to the Jews being the chosen  people, and  a  rock of stumbling to our fleshly pride and ambitions.   For the wise of this world, the cross – the means of a sure and shameful death for the transgressor – is foolishness, simplistic.  Yet for the one who believes, whether Jew or Gentile, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is the power of God unto salvation!

The gospel breaks down the wall of hostility between God and mankind, and also between Jews and gentiles, men and women, free and slave – in such a new way that it was a mystery known only to God until He revealed it in His own time to the Apostle Paul, in particular, who then made it known to the gentiles (nations), to kings, and to the children of Israel.

From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, the LORD God promised a Deliverer – a Savior – from the devil and evil to humankind through the Seed of the woman.  We learn in Romans how this deliverance extends to the whole creation.  To Abram the gospel was preached in that God told him that through him all the families of the earth shall be blessed.  It is faith such as Abraham showed which characterizes the faith of the true Messianic:  he believed the LORD; he believed what God said; he believed and trusted in the LORD that God Almighty could and would fulfill His promises, even if He had to raise the dead to do it!  The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is the living God of the living, the God whose power raises the dead to life eternal!  The Creator of the heavens and the earth is the one God of both the Jews and the Gentiles!

Is this what Judaism or any other of the world’s religions teaches?  Yet it is this good news and covenant of grace through repentance and faith in God which Yeshua came to bring and to fulfill.  He came to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets; He came to fulfill the word of God His Father – not the words or interpretations of anyone else.  The Jews and the nation of Israel as a whole rejected Him; so have too the gentile nations and peoples once the gospel is brought to them.  For the gospel allows no flesh to glory in itself or to approach God and live:  we must all – both  Jews and  gentiles from whatever nation or culture – be born again.  When we are baptized, we acknowledge not only Jesus’ death for us and His resurrection, but also our own death in His death, and our own resurrection in His, that we may no longer live unto ourselves but rather unto God in holiness and righteousness.  Therefore, there is continuity with our past life as unbelievers in that the Law and the prophecies are still being worked out fully; yet there is discontinuity in that we are alive in the reality of resurrection life, eternal life by the indwelling Holy Spirit –no longer under law but under grace.  The Holy Spirit will fulfill in us the righteousness of the Law, which we establish by faith.

The gospel and new covenant are so contrary and transcendent  to the natural man’s religion and intellect.  Let’s consider just a few points regarding Israel, since God gave Israel as an example for the Church and to the world:

  1. The religious and political leaders (in whom the people were represented) claimed that Yeshua consistently  broke the Sabbath regulations, even as He was manifesting the grace and mercies and compassion of God the Father towards others .  (Mt 12:2,10; Mk 3:2; Lk 23:14; John 7:23; Is. 58)
  2. They claimed that He was demon-possessed and cast out demons by the power of Satan, even as He was bringing the reality of the Kingdom of God into their midst.  (Mt 12:24; John 7:20; 10:19-20)
  3. They called Jesus a blasphemer because He claimed to be  God’s Son, or that God was His Father, thus making  Himself equal with God;  they accused Him of blasphemy because He, as a man, forgave sins.  (Mk 2:7; John 5:28; 10:31-39;  cp. 1 Chron. 22:9-10)
  4. The meek shall inherit the earth, rather than the rich and mighty who trust in their wealth and power and wisdom.  (Mt 5:5; 19:23-26; Jer 9:23)
  5. Many of the disciples themselves stopped following (walking with) Jesus when He spoke about eating His flesh and drinking His blood – a thought contrary to Israel’s law received from God.  (John 6:66; Lev. 17:11-12; Gen. 9:4; Acts 15:18-20)
  6. The apostles themselves were scattered when the Shepherd was crucified.  (Mt 26:31; Zech 13:7)
  7. Before knowing the Lord, did we see any beauty in Him that we desired Him?  Did we not, each in our own way perhaps, despise and reject Him?  Did we not consent to His death, assuming that there must have been some justification for it because of some sin of His own rather than for ours?  Paul, as Saul, was a blasphemer and a persecutor of Yeshua (who was already exalted back in Heaven) through the believers, the Body of Messiah, while being himself a zealous and God-fearing  Israeli!  (Is 53; 1Tim 1:13; Gal 1:13; Acts 9:4-5)
  8. A new commandment has been given God’s elect:  to love on the level of God’s love to us as shown and demonstrated through Jesus.  (Mt 5:43-48; John 15:12)

Brothers and sisters, the Christian testimony of Jesus being the Messiah and the Son of God the Father is confessed by both Jews and Gentiles who have believed and obeyed this revelation.  The gospel crosses every nation, culture, and language; the gospel brings Heaven’s rule and authority into the midst of the rule of the prince of this world’s power.  Jesus came to bring a sword into the world and to give His peace to the believer.  The church of the first-born includes all from Adam and Eve onward who have put their faith for salvation in the Creator God Almighty, who later revealed Himself as YEHOVAH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and still later as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The equality of Jews and Gentiles before God under the New Covenant in Christ is still difficult for both to accept and be reconciled to.  The Jews wanted to stone Yeshua and, later, Paul  when they spoke of their mission including gentiles.  For about 15 years after the death and resurrection of the Lord and after Pentecost (Shavuot), the early church was Jewish in character.  The Jews thought that all gentile believers had to become Jewish.  The Holy Spirit and the council at Jerusalem declared otherwise in the wisdom of God.  Later in Church history the opposite occurred:  the non-Jewish believers thought that all Jewish believers had to become gentile, fitting the cultural norm wherever they were living.

The truth is that in Messiah God has made of the two one new man – one loaf representing Christ’s one body in unity.  Today there is still a spiritual battle being fought to bring the Body of Christ to full maturity of the faith of the Son of God – comprised of both Jews and Gentile believers, but not being either quite Jewish or ethnic in character.  Our unity in Messiah and our love for one another is our testimony in and to the world that we are disciples of the Lord Jesus and that God sent Him and loves us as our Father, even as He loved Jesus.

The gospel is God’s good news – offering peace on earth, goodwill towards mankind.  Give thanks and  praise His Name!