YHVH IS THE MOST HIGH GOD – 20 Nov 2004

Ps 83: 16,18 (17,19 Heb)  . . . that they may seek Your Name, YHVH. . . that they may know that You, whose name alone is YHVH, are Most  High over all the Earth

Asaph, who wrote this psalm, was a priest and a prophet.  King David assigned Asaph to be one of the priests who led praise and worship in the Tabernacle of Meeting (משכן אוהל מועד) even before Solomon built the House of YHVH (בית יהוה) in Jerusalem (1Chron 6:31-39; 15:16-19; 16:4-7,37; 25:1-2;  2Chron 5:12)Asaph also wrote 11 other psalms, including #73, where he discovers that only in the sanctuary of God (מקדשי אל) is there understanding regarding the fate (אחרית) of the wicked (רשעים). 

I want us to consider briefly just a few thoughts from Ps 83:

–crying out to God to act against His and His people’s enemies; His people are Israel and believers in Yeshua

–“let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”; compare Israel’s effort to cut off the name and memory of Yeshua/Jesus Christ; God is righteous: what you reap you will sow; as you judge you shall be judged

–an Islamic confederation opposing the God of Israel – YHVH

–calling on God to completely destroy their strength and the credibility of their leaders and heroes, those, who through covetousness and envy, want to take the “pastures of God for [their own] inheritance”.

Compare the Jewish leadership and sages who thought that by killing God’s Son, the true heir, they would inherit His inheritance (Mt 21:38)

so that they will seek the true name of the one true God—YHVH—who alone saves and is Most High over all the Earth

We, too, are priests and prophets in Messiah.  We, too, need the discernment of Asaph to see through the lies of a culture established in direct opposition to the truth of God the Father and His Anointed One – the Lord Jesus the Messiah.  There is an evangelistic imperative to proclaim and confess the Name of YHVH, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, which is His memorial name forever

(Ex 3:14-16).  Most Bible translations remove YHVH’s name from the Bible, thus causing many in our generation to forget who He is.  When a false prophet comes and deceives people into believing that another name is the same God, then the enemy succeeds to destroy the identity and calling of the people upon whom YHVH has placed His Name! (Num 6:22-27).

All who call upon the Name of YHVH will be saved.  Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Acts 4:10 Gr) is the only name given under Heaven by which persons and peoples may be saved.  Yeshua is YHVH!  When we pray for Muslims, Jews, and other people of faith, we should learn by the Holy Spirit from Asaph that strongholds of lies and envy and murderous hatred must be broken through prayer and preaching of the gospel if they will be truly delivered from the powers of darkness and so turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God.  We wait for God’s Son Jesus, whom He raised from the dead, to return from Heaven and deliver us from the wrath to come (1Thes 1:9-10).

Jesus told the devil, “Away with you!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship YHVH your God, and Him only you shall serve!’”

THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF THE MIGHTY GOD – 21 Aug 2004

Ps 19:1-7 (Heb)  To the Chief Musician; a Psalm of David:  The heavens declare the glory of [the Mighty] God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night stores up knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the Earth and their words to the end of the habitable world.  In them He has set a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his wedding canopy, rejoicing like a hero to run his race.  Its rising is from one end of Heaven, and its circuit period to the other end; and nothing is hidden from its heat.

This last Tuesday evening Evan and I went to the planetarium in Givata’im.  It is the center for the Israel Astronomy Association, and is the only one in the country open to the public.  It is interesting to learn about and to observe something “up there” in outer space – what we might call the second heaven.  God the Father and the Son are on the Throne above them (Eph 1:20-21).  The woman who presented the show explained the stars and the constellations that are visible now in the sky.  The only problem was that all of her explanations, which excited her very much, come from pagan mythology.  Whatever elements of truth may be in them are to are to be recognized as distortions and perversions of the true meaning which comes from the Creator Himself – YHVH God of Israel!  This woman gave honor not to the God of Truth, but to the god of this world and age who wants to be worshipped as God.  There is a Buddhist symbol of a serpent encircling the planet, and the Greek legend making the serpent a symbol for healing and life from the dead.

1Jn 5:19; Eph 2:2; 2Cor 4:3-6  We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one. . ., the prince of the power of the air.    But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. . . .For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We do not honor God through this world’s wisdom, but rather, as little children or even as fools in the world’s estimation, through accepting what is written in His Word (1Cor 3:18-20; 4:6,10)Let’s consider just a few things in which the heavens tell of the glory of the Mighty God:

Gen 1:14  lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and to be for signs and seasons, and for days and years
     –size:  so big that no one can measure (Jer 31:37)
     –beauty: God is the penultimate artist. . .clouds of all shapes and imagination
     –order and regularity:  day and night; moon and sun for days, weeks, months, calendars (Jer 31:35-36; 33:25-27)
     –perfect proportion of size and distance: Architect, design; eclipses of sun and of moon; heat and cold
     –mystery:  How can it be?!; full of wonder as we look, for instance, at the photos of Saturn

Gen 9:12-17; Ezek 1:28; Rev 4:3  the rainbow as a sign of God’s glory
Ps 19:3-5 (Heb)  stories and legends around the world in all cultures
      –God knows all the stars by name! (Ps 147:4)
      –God portioned them out to all the peoples under the heavens, but we are to serve and worship Him (Dt 4:19-20), the Creator of the stars, moon, host of heaven, and He is our Savior.
      –God told Abraham that just as the multitude of the stars, so would be his descendants (Gen 15:5)

Ps 19: 6-7 (Heb)  sun like a bridegroom coming out of its bridal chamber, and serving Earth
     –Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings
     –Jesus came out of His chamber—and will come again!—for His Bride, and He still serves us more than we serve Him

sunsets – red;death of Messiah Jesus; sunrises – yellow, bright; light of new day; resurrection of Jesus

Mt 2:1-2, 9-10  unique star led “wise” men to Jesus, born to be King of the Jews (star out of Jacob – Num 24:17)
     –a sign which makes modern astrologers false prophets

Hab 2:14; 1Cor 15:28; Rev 21:22-23  the present creation will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of YHVH; the new Heavens and new Earth will be filled with the glory of God; He will be the light and we will all be filled with his glory and love

Jn 5:44-47  believing what Moses wrote about the beginning will help us to believe in Jesus, and also in what He says about things of the end

Ps 8:4-5 (Heb)  Your heavens, work of Your fingers. . .You have ordained. What is mortal man. . . !
   –who are we to change the Word of God into the words of mere men?!
   –Jesus came as the Son of Man that we could become sons of the Living God

Great is YHVH and worthy to be praised!  Give glory and honor to YHVH God, Maker of Heaven and Earth!  Amen.

FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS AND THE GOSPEL

(C&MA Great Commission Fund tour from Feb 27 – Mar 10, 2004, in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Richmond, Virginia)

Mk 10:28-31 (Mt 19:29; Lk 18:29-30)  Then Peter began to say to [Jesus], ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’  So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and  mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’ 

Peter here is responding in amazement to what the Lord Jesus had just spoken before as to how difficult it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God.  Because rather than giving up all for the reality of God and His Kingdom, they are trusting in themselves and in their own wealth or wisdom or power.  Jesus answers that anyone – not only the apostles, but anyone – who forsakes those things most valued in their lives or in the estimation of the world for His sake and the gospel’s will be rewarded both now and forever, with persecution between now and then along the way! 

A missionary is a “sent out person”.  Therefore, it is a calling; it is obedience to the Lord’s call upon your life to go wherever He chooses to send you.  All believers are called to be witnesses of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but not all are sent out with the specific purpose of taking the gospel to people outside of our own lands and culture, and to establish in the faith those who obey the gospel.  The answer of Jesus to His disciples gives equal status to anyone who forsakes home, family, or lands for the Kingdom of God’s sake.  Leaving all does not necessarily imply rejection or condemnation by either side.  Persecution, which all believers who live godly in Christ Jesus will experience, does mean being rejected, even hated and despised, because of believing in and belonging to Jesus the Messiah.

Still the challenge to take the gospel to all peoples remains:  For whosoever shall call upon the name of [the Lord Jesus Christ] shall be saved.  How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach except they be sent?  (Rom 10:13-15a) 

Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, is the penultimate “sent out one”:  sent by God the Father (Is 48:16; Jn 17:23) to gather the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and whosoever else will repent and believe the good news.  The first missionaries were Israelis and Jews – the apostles of the Lord Jesus sent out by Him.  We could go even further back and say that Jonah the prophet was the first missionary, being sent by YHVH to Nineveh to call them to repentance from evil towards the true God, in order that they be blessed and not destroyed.

Being called by God – and that is really the essence of the matter – to go to other lands and peoples with HIS message of salvation is not a call to lukewarmness.  The Christian life is grounded upon absolutes, upon truth.  Who is Jesus Christ?  We must know Him for who He is to bear God’s good news and to withstand the attacks of the enemy against the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He sent.  It is a continual dying to self that we may live unto God –even more, that God would manifest His life in and through us.  Is this not the exhortation to offer our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God?  To be God’s person to go for Him to tell the people about His Son is a call to persevering faith.  Therefore it must be obedience mixed with faith in GOD’s Word to you, or else the missionary will not endure the hardship associated with such a high calling away from his or her “safe” environment.  Our Father in Heaven knows us, and will not give us more than we can bear, but He will mature us and perfect us through giving us more than what we thought we could do!

I want to use my wife and myself as examples to hopefully help some of you to understand what I’ve been saying here:  As an unbelieving Jew, I went to Israel twice, but did not want to live there.  I did not consider the State of Israel my home, despite its importance to me as a Jew.  My first time I went as a tourist, and I liked the land and the history very much, but not the people!  But these were my people anyway!   The second time was in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, and I worked as a volunteer on a kibbutz.  This time I lived and worked with Israelis.  I began to understand why they were like they were, but I still could not condone what I considered a harsh approach to life.  I was still very much an American in my upbringing!

When I was saved seven years later and became a believer in Jesus as Lord and Christ, God changed my heart and spirit.  He TOLD me to go to Israel, and it immediately became home (on Earth).  I could not wait to get there despite my previous misgivings.  Everything had changed because of God and Jesus coming into my life and speaking His Word by the Holy Spirit.  In other words, I (we) are not living in Israel simply because I am Jewish, but rather as one sent by God back to the land — which He promised to give to the fathers and to their descendants — with the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Randi, my wife, is not Jewish; had never been to Israel or studied the Hebrew language.  She grew up in a church which relegates Israel to past history and Jewish people to Christ killers without hope of redemption, at least not as Jews.  Yet when she recognized that what happened to me was truly of God, she obeyed by faith the will of God to not only commit herself to me as her husband, but to live in Israel.  God also gave her to know that His purposes for me included her!  She will be rewarded more than me, for she has given up for Christ’s sake more than me.  At least I had a natural kinship with Israel and her people; whereas for her, it was completely foreign and strange.

Through obeying God, both Randi and I have been strengthened and encouraged by the Lord against the pulls of the natural bonds of family back here in the U.S. to tempt us to mind the things of man rather than of God.  And Jesus has proven His word true for us:  Randi’s oldest brother, a radiologist, disapproves of our living in Israel, where only the “bad Jews” live, and to demonstrate his disapproval, he once told her that he will not offer any financial assistance, as that would imply consenting to our decision.  So God gave to Randi (and me) another brother, also a Dr. David, a radiologist – a Jewish believer from N.C., who built a house in Beer Sheva because, he told us after we first spoke with him, God told him to.  We are living in it now for the past seven years at a very brotherly rate!  Randi’s father has expressed his own dislike and disapproval of our life of faith, by taking the ultimate step just last month of disowning and disinheriting his only daughter because we allowed our oldest daughter to enter the Israeli army as a civic obligation.  God, praise His Name, is our Father, and He does not forsake His children!

Giving up “all” for Jesus to be a missionary in a foreign land and culture, with foreign, strange, sometimes unfriendly and hostile people, in conflict zones, with antichristian religions and laws (e.g., against evangelism) is not an excuse for immoral living, as if the “going out” is sacrifice enough and outweighs every sin and shortcoming.  Your going is supposedly an act of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore only doing one’s duty – not even something for which He has to thank you.  Our lives as Christians, and so as witnesses of the Holy and Righteous Creator and Redeemer, is to grow and mature in that calling and setting God places us.  We are not to carry His name in vain, but to reflect His beauty of holiness in our lifestyle and in attitudes and motives of our hearts.

Not all are called to be sent out, but all believers can be partners in the great commission, perhaps through prayer, free-will giving above and beyond tithing, “adopting” a family serving abroad, volunteering to spend time abroad to help a busy family with housework or child-care, etc. etc.  Remember that King David established the custom in God’s army after the battle at Ziklag (1Sam 30:21-25):  that all who participated in the time of the battle shared in the spoils of victory – combat soldiers, supply personnel, kitchen help.  We, too, are in the Lord’s battle against Satan and evil.  The victory is already won on the cross:  Jesus is the Victor, and is willing to share all that is His with us who are joined with Him!

Some plant, others water, but God gives the increase and brings in the harvest by his holy angels.  Pioneers labor and break new ground; others follow and enter into their labors; fullness is at a predetermined end, praise God!  We are all one in Messiah Jesus, and the honor is His to receive.  We can receive nothing except that it is given us from Heaven.  Let us never forget and always remember that it is Jesus who is the Savior of all persons, especially of those who believe.  Not only are we called to labor for His sake and the gospel’s until He comes, but also we will not accomplish the incredible command to take the gospel to all nations within the prescibed time.  That does not phase God!  He will even send out angels to proclaim the everlasting gospel to those who dwell on the Earth before the hour of judgment is come, so that as many as will will repent and believe unto salvation (Rev 14:6-7).

GOD WILL GET IT DONE!  EVERY KNEE WILL BOW AND TONGUE CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF THE FATHER!

JUDGMENT OF BELIEVER’S WORKS – 22 June 2002

Ecc. 12:13-14 — . . .God will bring every work into judgment. . .whether good or evil
2Cor 5:9-11a  — . . .we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, that each one may receive the things done in the body. . .whether good or bad

The apostle Paul gave himself as an example of a sinner saved by the grace of God, that we would learn
from his life as a believer in Messiah Jesus, and of God’s longsuffering ways in fulfilling His purposes in
his life (1Tim 1:15-17).  Paul had a sense of obligation to be faithful to God for the grace and mercy which he had received:  to preach the gospel willingly, rather than as a mere duty (1Cor 9:16-17) .  If willingly he had a reward of sharing freely what he freely received.  If as a duty, he nonetheless had an obligation to obey God.  He would not even judge himself as to how faithful he was to the stewardship of the mysteries of God, but God would be his Judge in due time (1Cor 4:1-5).  Paul understood that the message of salvation was intended for all kinds of people and cultures (Rom 1:14).

Salvation (being born of the Spirit of God) is the beginning of eternal life with God.  It is not only an end to a sinful separation from God, but more so the proper foundation for a righteous and holy life as a child of God created in God’s image and likeness, to serve and worship our Creator and Redeemer.  Paul was full of wonder and thanksgiving to such a God as YHVH!  Paul had an unquenching desire to repay the unrepayable debt, and to take his own faith in the power of the gospel which saved him personally to others that they might know it, too (Rom 1:14-16).

Paul’s great motivating force was to please God, which is also what motivated our Lord Jesus (Rom 15:16;
2Cor 5:9; Gal 1:10; 1Thes 2:4; John 8:29).  This affected Paul’s message to the Gentiles that they would worship God in an acceptable way.  It affected his behavior among the believers so that it would be honoring to the Lord.  This is Paul’s prayer for every believer (Col 1:10; 1Thes 4:1; 2Tim 2:4).  God wants us to be sanctified in our lives, growing up in maturity and fruitfulness worthy of our high calling as priests, holy unto Him.

All of this is for our learning from our brother Paul (Saul) as he learned from following the Lord Jesus with a single eye and his whole heart, mind, and soul.  Paul remained conscious of his past conversion; he realized a sense of urgency of his present desire; he was motivated by future prospects
    –his work would one day be inspected (1Cor 3:11-15), and 
    –his life was subject to judgment (2Cor 5:10-11).

This promotes holiness and soberness, but not terror or paralysis for the one who has given his life for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.  Whatever prizes or crowns will be won will not be a basis for boasting before the Judge – the Lord Jesus Christ – for all that we have achieved, but will give real joy when the work which GOD HAS DONE IN AND THROUGH US IS RECOGNIZED FOR HIS PRAISE AND GLORY!  The incentives of judgment and of Messiah’s love (2Cor 5:14-15; Rev 3:19-22) work together to bring about holiness in the fear of God – working out our salvation with fear and trembling:  we grow in love for others.

It is not for faith only that we will be judged:  that will determine our future eternal destiny of being with or of being separated from God the Father and the Lord Jesus.  But believers will also be judged for how we lived according to the faith, for the quality of the works we did and the life we lived after salvation.  John the Baptizer said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire:  the first is for our sanctification; the other will test the result.

The one who believes in God through Jesus Christ will be saved.  Of that we have assurance.  In love and thankfulness for such grace and love, we ought to live godly lives to the honor of the Name of our God and Father, that His joy and ours will be full, both now and forever.

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUFFERING OUTSIDE THE CAMP

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

Mark 8:34-38; Hebrews 11:24-26; 13:13-14

In Israel the Supreme Court has determined that Jews who believe in Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Savior are not entitled to immigrate to the State of Israel under the Law of Return.  Our faith in Jesus places us outside the Jewish camp of this world.

In Israel, what are we going to do as rulers and principalities in the nation-state of Israel increasingly persecute believers in Yeshua and those who would protect our well-being (Mt. 25:31-40)?  What are we believers going to do as the world–including perhaps Germany–increasingly comes against the purposes of God regarding Jerusalem and the regathering of His people back to the Land of Promise (Is. 62:6-7; Ezek. 36:19-29)?. . . We are to do good to all persons, but especially to those in the household of faith, that is, those outside the camps of this present world.

Jewish believers are caught in a dilemma:  The LORD Himself has separated Israel from the rest of the nations (Num. 23:9), and within the people of God, the LORD has further separated unto Himself a priesthood of those who whole-heartedly are to serve Him and represent the whole of the people (Num. 1:49; 3:12).  Unrepentant and unbelieving Israel has cast Yeshua outside the vineyard (Mt. 21:38-39), so it ought not amaze us when classical Judaism does not embrace Jewish believers in Jesus (Mt. 10:24-25).  Many churches, too, have put Jesus outside the sanctuary of worship and life, and He stands knocking on the door to be let in by whoever hears what the Spirit is saying (Rev. 3:14-22).

Fears and ignorance amongst the Jewish people have bred many superstitions.  The LORD says to Israel (and to Christians) through the prophet Isaiah,  Your iniquities have caused a separation between you and Me (Is. 59:2).  Evidence of sin is seen in broken personal relationships and fellowship (communion).  Our God grieves that false prophets cause His people to forget His Name because of the baalim (Ps. 44:20-21; Jer. 23:26-27).  Jewish people do not pronounce YHWH, but instead speak generally of God, Lord, Messiah.  The orthodox will even just say “HaShem”– The Name– or distort the Hebrew and refer to “Elokim”, all supposedly to avoid taking the name YEHOVAH in vain (Ex. 20:7), but really proof of having no personal knowledge or relationship with Him (Hos. 2:16-17). Isn’t  it an insult to someone when you keep calling him by any name other than what he prefers to be called?   The God of  Israel  has become as the Unknown God of the Athenians (Acts 17:23).

Do not many Christians do the same?  We can be more concerned with offending the sensitivities of those who do not believe with us that there is only one true Messiah, who is the very Son of God, than we are with offending the Lord Jesus Himself!  Perhaps we feel embarrassed or ashamed that we or our ancestors have not lived and spoken in a manner worthy of His Holy Name.  But we give credibility to the names of all the false gods and antichrists as we ourselves forsake the full and authoritative Word of God for all kinds of traditions and philosophies of men and of demons.  Perhaps we are uncertain that it is Jesus alone who is Lord and Christ!  We display a lack of fear of God and risk denying Him who has bought us with the price of His own blood.  Too many believers who love Israel and the Jewish people distinguish between the Jew Yeshua and the Greek Jesus, between the Jewish Messiah and the gentile Christ.  All of this indicates that the glory is departed, is not amongst us, is gone into exile (1Sam. 4:21), for God’s dwelling place is in the midst of His unified people.  The question is not, Whose side is the Lord on?, but, Whose camp are we in? (Josh. 5:13-15).  To side with YEHOVAH  is to place loyalty to Him over the partisan interests of our own camps.

In Israeli society, the word notzri (Heb.) or Christian is a negative term, much like Jew has been amongst Christians historically.  It is a name which is blasphemed amongst men, but a sweet smelling savor to God (1Pet. 4:14; James 2:7).  The word notzri or Christian simply means belonging to and a follower of Christ (Messiah), who is Jesus (Yeshua), the “netzer” or branch from out of the roots of Jesse (Is. 11:1).  Therefore, the term is messianic as a reference, amongst other things, to the Son of David.  While both Jews and Christians have made the name of God a reproach (Ezek. 36:19-20), yet Jesus identifies with both when He bore the verdict against Him on the cross, Yeshua haNotzri, Melech haYehudim (Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews)(John 19:19).  So we must humbly sanctify and honor His name upon us, and not be ashamed to be called Christian because of what has been done sinfully in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Similarly, for many centuries Jewish people wanted to conceal their identities because of shame or fears of rejection and hatred).  In Israel we are called to honor the name of YEHOVAH God and of the Lord Jesus Christ–in whatever language.

The New Testament calls each believer to examine and judge him/herself (1Cor. 11:28-32) and to be accountable for my own  sins and the sins of my fathers (Acts 7:50-53), as well as to our sins as a people and the sins of the fathers of our nations and cultures against the Creator and Redeemer God (Lev. 26:39-45).  The Bible is clear that there is personal and collective accountability for our histories and a need to repent of sins.  This is true for me as a human being in Adam, for me as a Jew in whose rulers and fathers we are guilty as a nation for the crucifixion of the Son of God, for you as Germans with respect to the Holocaust.  We all have received forgiveness through our confession of sin and faith in the blood of Jesus who bore all our guilt and shame and curses in His body on the tree.  God delivers us from the death sin works in us into the freedom to serve Him with a clean conscience in the joy of being accepted by Him in Jesus!

Today as we look back at and judge the bleak record of church history–often overlooking the many blessings by God’s own faithfulness to keep the covenants–we need to take heed, lest thinking we stand, we fall (Rom. 11:21; 1Cor. 10:12).  Jewish believers especially ought to be the last to condemn and the first to forgive and to show mercy and comfort to our Christian brothers and sisters, for we rejected and killed Jesus before there even was a gentile church history; not to mention that over this history Jesus was Lord and within the Body of Christ the Holy Spirit exalted Him.  Our sin will be the greater because we say that we see (John 9:40-41).  This too puts us outside the camp as we forgive those who have sinned against our people because of our Father forgiving me for my sin against Him and His Son.  When Jewish and Arab, or even Jewish and German believers can testify of the reconciliation we have through our common faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord, this will be a witness that peace agreements from within this world are unsatisfactory and unsatisfying, that we must find our peace in the righteousness of God.  His terms of peace are signed with the blood of His cross.

To be outside the camp is to suffer misunderstanding and rejection with Jesus and with all others who are outside with Him, willing to be scapegoats who also make intercession for those still inside.  Only as we grow in appreciation for the enormity of our own sinfulness which God in His love and righteousness forgave, and let our love for Jesus increase, can we guard against a hardening of our own hearts towards those who refuse the message of reconciliation.  It is outside the camp where we meet with God and worship Him in Spirit and truth (Ex. 33:7).  Pharoah wanted Moses to compromise and set his conditions for the Israelis to worship their God.  Flee from idolatry, my brothers and sisters.  God is a Spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth, looking to the New Jerusalem above, outside the camps of this world.