PEACE AND RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE NATIONS OF JACOB AND ESAU – Aug 1995

(Delivered in Lempala, Finland, at Israel Conference)

Summarize:
Gen. 25:21-34    birth of Esau and Jacob, fathers of two nations; birthright sold by Esau to Jacob; Isaac loved Esau (Edom); Rebecca loved Jacob
27:1,20-22   Isaac’s poor eyesight in his old age; voice of Jacob vs. hands of Esau; Isaac’s carnal love for Esau
27:28-41    the blessings; the deceit of Jacob; the hatred (grudge) of Esau
32:28   Jacob’s name changed to Israel by God, indicating new character (person) and position (status)
33:1-20   unresolved reconciliation between Jacob/Israel and Esau/Edom over the issue of the land

1Cor. 10:11    the Bible and its examples written for us living at the end of the age
Read:   Col. 1:19-23    Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness, is our peace

The Bible is very clear that the covenant of God with Abraham (Abram) extended through Isaac and to Jacob and his descendants.  Under the Old Covenant, YHVH was in personal relationship with the people of Israel as a nation, excluding the gentile nations.  Individually, the Lord has always had His witnesses amongst all peoples.  (Eph. 2:12; Amos 3:2; Deut. 4:32-39; Acts 14:17)

Esau and Jacob were born to the same father and mother – in fact were fraternal twins – yet one is the father of Israel and is thought of as “Jewish”, while the other is not in covenant relationship to the LORD, and so is considered not Jewish, but rather, in other words, gentile. (1Cor. 10:32)

From God’s viewpoint, the Land of Canaan was to belong to Israel.  The Arabs and other Gentiles have had no sovereign claim to it once God gave it to the children of Israel through the leadership of Joshua.  Gentiles, including Arabs – both Ishmaelites and Edomites – could live in the land but not possess it.  The LORD conditioned Israel’s possession upon their faith and obedience to Him and His law, which, as we know, they failed to do, as would any other people in the same position as God’s chosen people (Acts 15:10).  All blessing to Israel has been ultimately connected to the promised Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom God would bring into the world through the Jewish people, but who was to be the same promised Seed of the woman that was to deliver all humanity from the seed of the serpent.  God is faithful to His Word even if we are not, and He is presently dealing with the Jewish people (and with all the tribes of Israel which He alone can recognize) back again in the land which He promised and which He refers to still as the Land of Israel, despite peoples’ uncertainty regarding the name, and their rebellion against YHVH and His Anointed. (2Tim. 2:13; Josh. 5:13-15; Ezek. 36–39; Ps. 2; 83; Mt 2:20-21)

Under the New Covenant, which Israel as a nation has not yet accepted or entered into, although it was first (and still) offered to her, God is offering to both Jews/Israelis and Arabs/Palestinians far more than what they each are struggling over now:  eternal life with the Lord Himself in the New Heavens and New Earth He will create, rather than a portion of land which is not even all that was promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.  When Yeshua returns, He will bring to fulfillment His word and promises regarding the land, its boundaries, and where the different peoples will live during the millenial kingdom.  Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus will bring righteousness and peace – even to the animals!

So until then, what do Isaac’s prophetic blessings to his sons, and the characters of and relationship between Jacob and Esau have to instruct us as Christians in the Church of God?  (Heb. 11:20)  Let’s look together at. . .
Gen. 27:28-29,33   blessing to Jacob in disguise. . .and he shall be blessed (much as Balaam had to concede hundreds of years later)
Rom. 9:7-8; Gal. 4:28   Isaac as child of promise (grace vs. works of flesh, custom, or law) a picture of believers and the Church
Gen. 27:39-40   “blessing” to Esau, but without fruitfulness and divine presence and protection
Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3; Heb. 12:14-17   character of Esau, and God’s attitude and sovereign election
cp. Mt. 10:37   love for Jesus vs. love of family and self

         Gen. 27:40   “intifada”:  shaking off (uprising), growing restless, gaining dominion (upper hand); the undoing of Jacob’s security and assurance

Much of the Body of Messiah today is similar to Isaac and Rebecca in their attitudes and action towards both the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs:  whether as pictured in Isaac or in Rebecca, God’s ways and will are being distorted.   Jacob’s hope is not in his father Isaac, who in his rightful annoyance at being deceived – though a consequence of his own paternal carnal love (Praise God for it though!) for Esau – undid Jacob’s confidence by giving to Esau the hope of “getting even”; Jacob’s hope is not in himself nor in Israel the people, nor in Christians and the Church; Jacob’s hope is not in an unresolved “reconciliation” with his brother Esau or the Palestinian Arabs, who at heart hold a murderous grudge against him and developed a bitter root (the seed of Islam) as witnessed in the whole after-history of this long-standing family feud (Ezek. 35:5; Obadiah).

Jacob has no hope – nor do the Arabs – under the terms of the O.T. because of his own and Israel’s unrighteousness.  Jacob’s hope – and of the Arabs – is the Hope of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ.  God will fulfill His purposes, but in His way and in truth and righteousness.  As it is written in Rom. 11:25-32:    “From out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them – when I take away their sins,” and all Israel shall be saved. (Ezek 36:27)
And again, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD.”  And, “. . .They shall look on Me whom they have pierced.”  (Ps. 118:25-26; Zech. 12:10)

Jacob’s/Israel’s attitude as God’s chosen people towards Gentiles in general and towards Arabs and Palestinians in particular is similar to that often displayed by Christians and the Church toward Israel and Jews.  Both have presumed an unmerited arrogance or wisdom in themselves in a manner contrary to the truth and character of our God as revealed in the Scriptures (Rom. 11:25).  God loves all persons, desiring that none should perish but rather receive forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life (Ezek. 18; John 3:16), and the Lord is also faithful to His covenant promises to and through Israel for all nations.  The Church’s pre-eminent place before God is not at the expense of His word and promises regarding Israel or the other nations.

We as believers ought to humbly marvel and worship God as we realize more and more Who and What He is!  As believers we are exhorted to examine and to judge ourselves, for those of the world – which today includes Israel and the Arab nations and peoples – are already condemned in their unbelief on the Name of the only-begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 11:28-32; 2Cor. 13:5).  To us has been given the message of reconciliation – the good news of God to all peoples and nations – until the Lord takes us up to Himself and He finishes the work of putting away evil and workers of iniquity through His righteous and true judgments upon the nations – including Israel and the harlot church – as mankind’s Redeemer (Is. 26:9-10; Rev. 19:2).

Let us seek God’s grace and mercy and long-suffering to remain faithful to our own election in Christ, maintaining the salt of the covenant, even as we carry the gospel of peace to the children of Jacob and of Esau.  The blood of Yeshua the Messiah, which He shed on the cross for our sins, is God the Father’s signature on His peace treaty.  Hallelu-Yah!  Amen.

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

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

Revised 5 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISRAEL OF GOD AND COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL: NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL; NEITHER IS THE CHURCH – 24 Aug 1995

(Message at Salaam Church to Friends of Israel in Forssa, Finland)

Gal 6:15-16  For in Messiah Yeshua neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but rather a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Eph 2:11-13  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by them who are called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth  of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.

Rom 9:4-8  . . .Israelis, to whom pertain the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever.  Amen.  Not as though the Word of God has not taken effect, for they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:  but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but, rather, the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

The Jewish believers (Messianic Jews; Hebrew Christians, whatever) are presently the Israel of God, part of the whole Church of God, which includes Israelis and Gentiles from all time who have believed in the promises concerning God’s Son, the Savior of all persons, especially of those who believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those who sincerely want to bless Israel as the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, can do this particularly by blessing Jewish Israeli believers – and especially those who walk by the rule set by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul.  But not Jewish believers only, but all genuine Christians through faith and new birth are called the seed of Abraham through his ultimate promised Seed, Yeshua the Messiah. 

The nation of Israel (the preserved remnant being the “seed bed”) will fulfill all YHVH God’s word regarding her during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ Jesus, following her national repentance (which includes both a new and different orientation, and also regret over sin) and conversion (transformation; transfiguration) at the coming and presence of the Lord of lords and King of kings to save the remnant, comprising “all Israel” – the Israel of God — and to judge the nations – preserving also the sheep among the Gentiles.

God has always considered Israel as a nation (Jer 31:35-36), even when we were scattered throughout the sea of nations of the world, away from the Promised Land.  The Church is not Israel, but rather a new creation, made up of blood-bought (redeemed) persons – both Jews and Gentiles – with saving and living faith from out of every nation, tribe, language, culture.  (YHVH God creates:  the present Universe Gen 1:1; Adam and Eve (man and woman) Gen 1:27; Israel, the people Is 43:15; the Church (Body of Messiah/Christ) Eph 4:24; the regenerated Millennial heavens and Earth Is 65:17; the new universe Rev 21:1)

There is only one God and Savior, and one Lord and Messiah; and only one Bible, which YHVH God the Holy Spirit has given to and through Israel to the whole world through the Church.

Through the Old and New Testament Scriptures, written primarily by Jewish prophets and apostles (not to mention the Lord Yeshua Himself), the Israel of God is presently a light to the Gentile peoples; and the Gentiles, through the spread of the gospel and the use of the Bible, are brought near to the Commonwealth of Israel by their relationship to the God of covenant, who is YHVH, God of Israel.  Gentile Christians, whether walking in faith or not, are brought to accountability before the God of the Bible – YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; to the Messiah and King of the Jews – Yeshua the Nazarene; to the historic and traditional and prophetic ‘holidays’ spoken of by YHVH through Moses to Israel, including what is popularly called Easter (Firstfruits), and Pentecost/Shavuot, as well as Hanukkah, Purim, and Christmas (the birth of the Lord).  All of these were first celebrated by Israeli Jews in Israel who worshipped God, their Creator and Redeemer, in holiness and fear with a thankful heart.  Jewish believers are also brought back, and carried onward through faith, to all that the Lord has spoken regarding all things.

Gentile believers are told that they have a debt to Israel.  Jewish believers also have a debt to the historic Church – and even to barbarians! (Rom 1:14; 15:26-27; Acts 28:2)  We have all entered into the labor of others.  Those who sow and those who reap are one.  God is no respecter of persons.  He is on His own side, and is faithful to the finished work of His Son on the cross. (Josh 5:13-14)  The Holy Spirit fulfills the righteousness of the Law through the Body of Christ, and Jesus, whom the Spirit glorifies, is Head over all things to the Church, to the glory of the Father.

Israel is the most accountable nation  before God on the Earth, because of her special relationship and covenantal responsibilities with the Lord. (Amos 3:2)  To her belongs double honor, but also double judgment.  To the Church has been granted greater and fuller revelation and privileges by the grace and mercy of God, rather than by mere legal rights and obligations.  We have been bought by the precious blood of the Son of God, who is also the Son of Man, and our responsibility as a people is therefore greater thanIsrael’s at this time to show forth the wisdom and praises of God and of His Anointed One.  The love of God has been revealed to and bestowed upon us, that we are called sons of God!

Let us pray that the Lord would help us to maintain a faithful witness and testimony to the light of the New Covenant revelation, while recognizing both our link and relationship to Israel – because of our faithful God – and also our distinction and distinctiveness from Israel – because of Messiah our Passover.  We – both the present Israel of God and also the rest of the Body of Messiah – are justified through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the King of Israel.  Amen.

WHAT IS IN A NAME?: “[YESHUA] SHALL BE CALLED A NAZARENE”

(Updated 18 May 2017)

Ps. 138:1-6     “. . .for You have magnified Your word [saying] above all Your Name” (v. 2)
–recognition of God’s Name brings forth songs of praise (psalms included musical  instrumentation);
–songs of YHVH and of His ways;
–the names of God a progressive revelation of Himself to His people–in fact to the world–finding fulfillment under Heaven and in this present creation in the Name above all names, Yeshua (Jesus), our Savior God;
–names are significant throughout Bible, both prophetically and in reference to character of a person, sometimes becoming forever associated with good or with evil, e.g., Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Samuel, Daniel, Delilah, Jezebel
–in eternity, both the Lord Yeshua/Jesus and we will have new names–an eternal testimony from God our Father of  who and what we are (Rev. 2:17; 3:12; 19:12)
–The YHVH’s  name is praised for His lovingkindness (grace) and truth:  we come to know Him as He has revealed Himself through His names which He has made known to us, e.g., El Shaddai (God Almighty or Nurturer);     God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob; I AM; YEHOVAH; YHVH our Righteousness, our Healer, our Peace; YHVH of Hosts; Wonderful Counselor; Father of Eternity; Immanuel. . .
–We, as the people of the Living God, are called by His Name–that which gives us identity and identifies us with YEHOVAH GOD of Israel and with His Son Yeshua whom He sent.  (Num 6:23-27)
–the LORD tells Israel that He would call His servants by a new name (Is. 65:13-16; Jn 15:14-17; Gal 4:4-7)
–in the N.T. the Holy Spirit says that Yeshua would be called a Nazarene, according to the prophets  (Mt. 2:23)

Is. 11:1       (also read the added segment from Tree and Shrub in Our Biblical Heritage about the “shoot”, the netzer)
The netzer is specially chosen from among many offshoots from the roots of the olive tree.  It is by all appearances small and insignificant, yet, in truth, it is the one in which is contained the life and hope of future generations.  Yeshua is God’s Twig; He is the Netzer–the Nazarene.  God in His wisdom chose a small, lowly regarded town called Nazareth (נצרת ) as the place in which His Son would grow up “in order that” Yeshua  should be called “Notzri“.  Not Bethlehem, and so perhaps a Yehudi or Beitlachmi; not Jerusalem, and so Yerushalmi; but Nazareth and Notzri (“my netzer” / “נצר שלי”).

In the eyes of Israel, Jesus is insignificant, of low esteem, not the Hope of Israel in Whom is her life.  He is the Stone which the builders rejected, but whom the Father, the Husbandman and Vinedresser, has made the rock of offense and the head of the corner (cornerstone and foundation stone). (Ps 118:22-23; Is 8:14; 28:16; 1Pet 2:6-8)

God chooses the foolish and the weak things in the eyes of the world to confound the wise (Ps 119:141; 1 Cor. 1:23-31).  YHVH chose Isaac, and his half-brother Ishmael mocked him;  God chose the children of Israel, the fewest in number, because He loves them; God chose David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, but a man after God’s own heart; the LORD chose Jerusalem to be His city, yet it has no natural resources of the great capital cities of the world; Jesus emptied Himself of all glory to become not the rightful King, but rather the servant of servants — meek and lowly in heart.  The meek shall inherit the earth; those who fear God and do righteousness will see His favor.  To the world foolishness and weakness–“friars”; to God wisdom and salvation, life from death.

[Other examples of God’s foolishness being wiser than man’s wisdom are His choices of the Seed of the Woman; Jacob; Bethlehem; Ruth the Moabitess;  Solomon, the son of David and Batsheva; Mary; the Lamb.]

God will fulfill His Word.  In Mt. 2:23 the Word of God says that through the prophets (plural) Yeshua would be called a Nazarene (this is not the same word as nazirite).  Even today in Israel, the Jewish people call Yeshua/Jesus, “Yeshu haNotzri” (Jesus the Nazarene, in a completely derogatory sense), fulfilling the Word of God! (also fulfilling Is 8:20-21, giving deeper meaning to Yeshua telling His city and people that they will not see Him again until they bless Him and His name – Mt 23:37-39)

A few examples from the Scriptures of the use of the Hebrew word netzer and its root derivations are:
Ex. 34:6-7        in connection with the Name of God, who keeps lovingkindness for thousands
Deut. 33:9    Levites (esp. Pinhas) kept covenant with YHVH in preference over his family and kinsmen
Is. 49:6         the preserved of Israel by the Servant of YEHOVAH
Jer. 4:16       the watchers sent by God against Jerusalem and Judah
Ps. 25:10       the paths of YHVH are grace and truth for the keepers of the LORD’s covenant and testimonies
                      Ps. 119:2      blessedness ( inner-man happiness, satisfaction) of those who keep the LORD’s testimonies
                       Ps 119:22    supplicating God to remove reproach and despite on account of keeping His testimonies
                      Prov. 4:23    keeping of one’s heart essential to the issues of life

Yeshua fulfills all these, and we are called to do so as believers in Him; Israel is also called to be notzrim in truth, both morally and spiritually.  Yeshua is YHVH’s Tzemach (Branch; Plant; Sprout – Is 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12).

From the Greek texts, we find the following applications of the Messianic use of the name Notzri/Nazarene:
Lk. 18:37-38     Associated with the Son of David, Messiah
Lk. 24:19          Known by His disciples (on way to Emmaus after resurrection of Yeshua)
Rom. 2:28-3:4   An issue of the heart, both to be a Jew and a Christian (whether Jewish or Gentile by birth)
–seeking God’s approval
–suffering indignity for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ the Nazarene (not merely Jesus of/from Nazareth, though this has its own proper use as well) (Jn 1:45-46; Acts 5:41-42)
Mk. 16:6     The angels refer to Jesus the Nazarene as the One the women are seeking at His tomb
Acts 22:8   Yeshua calls Himself the Nazarene (הנצרי ) after His ascension when He appears to Saul (Paul) and identifies Himself to him.

The apostles and disciples are identified with Jesus as Christians (משיחיים ) or as of the Nazarenes (נצרים).
Acts 11:26        first called Christians (meaning belonging to Messiah/Christ, or followers of Messiah/Christ, whether Gentile of Jewish)
Acts 24:5          scornfully referred to as Nazarenes; Paul takes the opportunity to declare his faith and hope
Acts 26:28        Jewish King Agrippa referred to Paul’s persuasiveness to make him a Christian; Paul had borne testimony to the sufferings of Messiah and of His resurrection
1 Pet. 4:14-16   apostle to Jewish believers refers to suffering as Christians for the Name of Messiah (the Greek word for Christian which Peter used for the Messianic Jews is the same as used for the disciples in Antioch, and by King Agrippa — Christianos)
Acts 6:14           a name of contempt by false witnesses
Acts 3:6; 4:10    healings and miracles done in the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Yeshua ha-Mashiach ha-Notzri)
Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34  demons, evil and unclean spirits, knew Yeshua as the Nazarene, the Holy One of God

The devil always desires to make God’s people ashamed or afraid of being known by the names God uses.  Both Jews and Christians have done much which has brought reproach and dishonor to our own people and so to our God and Savior.  Yet if we pay notice only to the ways in which the seed of the serpent has abused the Name of YHVH or of His Anointed One, then we will not hear the voice of our Shepherd, whose Name is honorable to God, and He has placed His Name upon us.

Just as Jews in the diaspora often times want(ed) to dissociate themselves from their God-given identity (also oft used in derision), so many Christians do the same–some due to rebellious unbelief or to a bitter root, others due to a sense of shame or of guilt, still others from fear of ridicule or of disapproval.  Nonetheless, even as the name of Israel and of Jews remain to this day, so too has YHVH preserved the name (Hebraically- and English-wise today) of Notzri/Christian.  If we look to Yeshua/Jesus and suffer with Him for His Name’s sake, then we will be glorified together with Him.  The cross of our Lord does not permit us to find our comfort by seeking to save our own lives and names (reputations), but rather by losing our life for Yeshua’s  sake. (Heb 13:13-15)  Then His promise is that we will indeed find life.  We are hidden with Messiah in God.

As we see through faith God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit reveals and enlightens through the Scriptures, then the sayings ( (אמרים of God–not His words (דברים) only, but what He is saying with His words — are magnified, enlarged, are seen more fully and clearly:  great is the glory of YHVH, our pride of self is exposed and abased — grace and truth come through Jesus Christ the Nazarene.  We have no boast but in the cross of our Lord.

Through believing on the Name of the Son of God, the Spirit of God opens up the whole of Scripture to lead us and confront us with liberating and sanctifying truth and love, as He magnifies all that comes forth from the mouth of God and fulfills in us and through us all that His Name means.  Do you know this in your own life, and do we know this together as a congregation gathered together in His Name?

I am a Jew who believes in Jesus.  After that, you can call me what you want.  To the Synagogue I am saying that I am still a Jew, even though I believe in Jesus.  To the Church I am saying that I am still a Jew, even though I believe in Jesus.  Being  a Messianic Jew, a Christian, or a traitor does not alter that declaration of identity.  The main thing is that I belong to and follow Jesus/Yeshua — both Lord and Messiah/Christ.

To whomever has an ear to hear, let him/her hear what the Spirit is saying.  God is faithful to His own Name (He is not unknown or anonymous, and it is our duty and our privilege to make known and honorable His Name–especially here in Israel where they have forgotten it or show their broken relationship with Him through much vain superstitions), and to the name He has sovereignly chosen to bestow upon His beloved Son – hated without cause — who died upon the cross for our sins (John 19:19):

                         Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews                   ישוע הנצרי המלך היהודים

 Netzer – נצר

(from Tree and Shrub in Our Biblical Heritage; pages 82-88; written by Nogah Hareuveni)

“Frequently the olive tree is surrounded by offshoots, the strongest of which are kept by the farmer for transplanting.  In this context it is easy to understand the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘And a shoot (hoter) shall grow out of the trunk of Jesse, and a twig (netzer) shall sprout from his roots.’  (Is. 11:1)

The offshoots that surround an olive tree grow both from the roots and the trunk of the tree.  When a trunk offshoot grows into a sturdy “branch”, it is sometimes cut out from the trunk, together with a thick knob at its head–the hoter, or shepherd’s staff.  It serves the shepherd both as a weapon and as a tool for directing the flock.

Unlike the hoter,  worked from the offshoot that grows from the trunk of the olive tree, the netzer is an offshoot that grows from the roots of the tree.  The olive grower destroys most of these offshoots, leaving only one or two of the sturdiest to develop into new saplings for transplant.  This is the guarded offshoot [the word netzer being derived from the Hebrew word natzor, to guard], selected from among all the others to propagate the new generation of olive trees. . . .

These characteristics of the olive offshoots help explain the words of Isaiah (in 11:1) which describe the Messiah, a descendant of David, son of Jesse, who will be a leader of his flock (represented by the hoter, the shepherd’s staff with which he leads his flock) and who will grow as the guarded sapling (the netzer) from the roots of the stock of Jesse.  Though that ancient stock was chopped down during the destruction of the Temple, the roots did not lose their ability to put forth the new growth of a fruitful tree. . . .  After being planted, the olive tree offshoot grows into an olive tree of great age. . . .

Moreover, the olive offshoot can survive for days after being severed from the parent tree, even without soil or water.”

“. . .מסביב לגזע הזית גרופיות-גרופיות, אשר החזקות בהן תישמרנה בידי האיכר כ”נצרים” לנטיעת עצים חדשים

 בקשר זה אפשר להבין את דברי הנביא:  “ויצא חוטר מגזע ישי ונצר משורשיו יפרה” (ישעיה י”א: א’).  הגרפיות, אשר מסביב לעץ זית, יוצאות בחלקן מן הגזע ואחרות עולות מן השורשים.  כאשר גדלה ומתעבה גרופית שצמיחתה מן הגזע, יש המנתקים אותה ממנו, עם האזור המעובה אשר במקום הניתוק.  לאחר מכן מחליקים אותה ומעבדים אותה למקל, אשר בראשו גולה, או “חוטרת”.  זהו מקל הרועים – החוטר – המשמש את הרועה ככלי נשק וגם ההנחיית העדר. . . .

 שלא כמו החוטר, המעובד מגרופית הגדלה מן הגזע, מתפתח הנצר מגרופית העולה מן השורשים.  הכורמים נוהגים להשמיד את מרבית הגרופיות הללו, ולהשאיר רק אחד או אחדות מהן ברצותם לטפח שתילים חדשים.  אלו הם הנצרים:  הגרופיות אשר נצרו אותן מבין כל אלה שהושמדו, כדי להעמיד מהן דור חדש של עצי זית. . . .

 בתכונות אלו של גרפיות הזית מוסברים יפה דברי ישעיה על המלך לעתיד-לבוא מבני בניו של דוד בן-ישי, שיהיו בו תכונות של מנהיג (המסומלות בחוטר, הוא מכשיר הנחיית העדר שבידי הרועה), ואשר יצמח כנצר

משורשי גזע-ישי, הוא הגזע העתיק שנכרת עם החורבן, אך שורשיו לא איבדו את חיוניותם להצמיח מחדש אילן פורה (“יפרה“). . .לאחר נטיעתה גרופית של זית, היא מצמיחה עץ רב-שנים.  יתר על כן:  גרופית הזית עשוייה לשמור על חיוניותה גם ימים רבים לאחר תלישתה מאילן האם – וזאת גם אם לא תינטע באדמה ואף לא תקבל אספקת מים . . . .”    (שיח ועץ במורשת ישראל, כתב: נגה בראובני, עמ’ 88-82)

T’S BAPTISM – 16 July 1993

It is with joy of a father and mother that we can witness and participate together in the baptism (immersion) of our first child, T.  We give thanks to God our Father that, by the Holy Spirit, Tamar has been drawn to Jesus His Son.  T has responded by asking Jesus into her heart even from the age of five and now, by obeying Him, to be baptized by faith in His Name.

Baptism is essentially a public act of acknowledgment that the one being baptized believes with all his or her heart that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and that He saves the believer from his sins.  When we are baptized we are agreeing with God that the Lord Jesus died for me and my sins on the cross in my place, and that I have died with Him.  And even as He rose from the dead, so will I be raised from death.  Baptism in water gives a vivid picture of our sins being washed away by God’s Word on the basis of Jesus’sacrifice.  When we are baptized we are saying that we want to be with Jesus and with His people.  We are saying that we need to be changed from the way we are and think and feel and do to the way God is and thinks and feels and does.  In other words, we need to die to ourselves so that we can live unto God in the power of His resurrection, because God loves you, T.

God your Father in Heaven, T, is very happy and pleased that today you are taking your first big step of faith – the faith of a child which is so special and precious to the Lord that He even tells big people that they must have the simple, trusting, dependent faith of a child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now that you are born again by God’s Word and Spirit through your believing God and His good news about Jesus Christ, your mother and I want to read to you from our announcement at your birth almost eight years ago our blessings and prayers for you then that we see God is wonderfully in grace and mercy bringing to pass:

Your name T means the date palm tree and the fruit.  The date palm tree symbolizes uprightness, righteousness, prosperity and fruitfulness; beauty; salvation and victory; kingly glory; constancy, perseverance.  We hope and pray that you will grow and develop in accord with your name and in the fear of the LORD.

לשמך תמר יש פרוש עץ תמר ופרי שלו, ויש לו סמלים יושר, צדקה, הצלחה, פוריות. הדר. ישועה ונצחון. כבוד מלכי. חזק, התמדה.  אנו מקווים ומתפללים שאת תגדלי באופי שלך לפי השם שלך וביראת יהוה.

 

Do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God? . . . . yes
Do you believe that He suffered and died for — and because of — you and your sins? . . . . yes
Do you believe that God the Father and Jesus forgive you for all your sins? . . . . yes
Do you believe that Jesus is Lord and is now alive in Heaven and in your heart? . . .. . yes

Then in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ – I baptize you, T, into His death and into the newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit of God in you.  Praise the LORD!

CIRCUMCISION: A DEFENSE

Excerpt from a letter from me to a believer in Holland on 11 Jan 1993:

. . .Bless you, Brother, for taking the courage and being sincerely honest in asking why we circumcised our sons.  I have enclosed the content of words I spoke to both unbelievers and to believers who attended the circumcisions in our home.  I have also enclosed the word I spoke at E’s dedication before the congregation and before God.  I trust that these will both answer the question and help to give sufficient understanding that the Holy Spirit will give you peace regarding it.

I, too, struggled with the issue before God before E, our first son, was born.  I did not want to do anything that would compromise the cross or my walk as a Christian.  Prior to the birth and subsequent circumcision, the Lord gave me peace regarding it as a Jew descended in the flesh from the fathers, and as one born again in Christ confirming God’s promises to my people in the flesh.  E and T, as my sons, would be, apart from circumcision, unconnected to Israel and the Jewish people – simply Gentiles from American-born parents, or even within the State of Israel.

Rabbinically, they are not considered Jews since their mother is not Jewish.  My concern is not what the rabbis may approve, but rather what God approves.  As a Jew believing in Jesus, I have not become somehow a gentile (and therefore uncircumcised covenantly speaking) [1Cor 7:17-20]).  Taking the N.T. instructions as a whole on the subject, I have done this as a matter of faith – not regarding salvation, but regarding our identity in this body in the world with my people to whom God gave circumcision as a sign for both relationship and identity (Gen 17:14).

If what is written here together with the enclosed papers still does not help, please feel free to say so.  The main thing is not whether someone is Jewish or Gentile, but rather whether he/she is in Christ Jesus.  Praise God! . . . .

CIRCUMCISION OF T Shimon – 13 Oct 1992

Some of you were with us for E’s circumcision, and it is good to have another occasion to celebrate together the LORD our God, both during this week of Succot (the Feast of Booths, or of Ingathering), and also in remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the circumcising of our second son, T Shimon.  (T’s means ‘dew’, and his middle name, Shimon, is a testimony of our faith that the promised inheritance to Simeon, Jacob’s son and the Tribe of Israel, will be fulfilled:  he will inherit Beer Sheva in the apportionment of the Land of Israel after Yeshua returns to set up His kingdom.  Our prayer is that T will have a better inheritance in Christ by being born-again before the Lord returns.)

The circumcision of the flesh of every male Jew is a symbol both of God’s covenant and also of His ways of fulfilling His promises and purposes for His treasured people Israel.  Succot is a testimony of a people at peace with their God – a people whose heart has been circumcised – whose soul has been afflicted, and then refreshed and revived through God’s gracious atonement for sin – and among whom YHVH is pleased to dwell in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Randi and I are circumcising T as his parents in willing obedience to the LORD and to His honor and glory.  But it will amount to nothing if either we or T should place any confidence in the flesh and unless T should circumcise himself to the only wise God and Savior through personal faith and in a spirit of meekness.

Jacob will know the blessings of the covenant when, as Israel, he becomes a true son of Abraham, being justified through personal faith in God Almighty, Who can raise the dead to life in order to fulfill His Word.  As it is written, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen 21:12; Rom 9:7)  “He (Jesus Christ) shall see His seed and the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.” (Is 53:10-11“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.” (Ps 51:19 Heb.)

The Scapegoat – Day of Atonements

Lev. 16:5-10, 15-22; Is 53:10– living scapegoat bearing all the iniquities, transgressions, sins of Israel; Israel being atoned for on the basis of the accepted blood sacrifice of the first goat to the LORD; two goats. . .one sin offering:  atonement (reconciliation) and the effectual removal of guilt and uncleanness

To consider and to study from the Word of God about the Day of Atonements in general, and its sin offering and whole burnt offering in particular, is to enter into the Holy of Holies, into the eternal counsels of the Eternal God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Places are open now to anyone who is born again from above by the Holy Spirit through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His atoning death for salvation.

Simply stated, the King of Glory – the Son of God – humbled Himself by clothing (identifying) Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3) as the Son of Man, and offered (sacrificed) Himself in purity and without blemish unto God as a sin and guilt offering, shedding His own blood, to the glory of God the Father, and taking upon Himself all of our iniquities, transgressions, and sins in order to be the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe, that we might live before the Holy God – indeed that God may live with and in us – in His love and righteousness.

I want to bring before you the “Goat” which stands live before the LORD – the second goat “to Azazel in the wilderness”: the Scapegoat. What does the expression “to Azazel” mean to any of you in your own languages? [damn!; hell; go to hell!; go to the devil!] The term connotes accusation, blame, punishment, banishment, hatred – always toward innocent victims and that they should be sent away to someone or someplace. (It is not a fit expression, given its thought, from the mouth of a Christian since God has no desire that any human being should go to hell, but rather, on the basis of the atonement, that all should be saved. That so many will choose to condemn themselves is beyond our own comprehension.)

Who was (were) the first scapegoat(s) in the world?  Gen. 3:11-12 – the LORD YHVH (and Eve)
–Who did the LORD hold principally responsible for bringing sin into the world?  Gen. 3:14, 17 – the
serpent [deceiver; Satan], and Adam
–Were Adam and Eve responsible and accountable for their own sin and disobedience?  Gen. 3:16-17 —  Yes
–How did Adam first realize his own sin?  Gen. 3:8-10 – guilty conscience: he heard God’s voice, was afraid, hid himself

Has not God provided a scapegoat for Israel and for the world during all these thousands of years?
Everyone from Adam and Eve until now has sought – or is still seeking – someone else to blame for his troubles in order to ease the burden of his own guilty conscience from the effects of his own sin or unbelief.
–The Israelis blamed Moses both in Egypt and in the wilderness (Ex. 5:21; 16:6-8).
–Wicked King Ahab accused God’s servant, the prophet Elijah, as the one that troubles Israel (1 Kings 18:17-18).
–The High Priest Caiphas with the rulers and elders of the people of Israel blamed Yeshua the Nazarene for their problems both within the nation and from without (John 11:47-53).
–It is well documented in history that many nations have made Israel and Jews the scapegoat for many (if not all) of their and world’s problems.
–Christians faithful to the blood of Messiah and to the Word of God have been – and will continue to be – scapegoats for Jews and for the Gentiles, and even within the Church of God (Matt. 5:10-12; 2 Tim. 3:12).
–The devil accuses the brethren day and night, accusing us of all manner of things; and we are guilty of many!  But there is no condemnation for those in Christ, because Jesus died for us, and rose again!!

This should not be surprising to us as we realize that the true Scapegoat is the Chief Representative of both Israel and of the Church – the King of the Jews and the Head of the Body of Christ – the Lord Jesus Himself! And He is also the representative of all human beings, for He is the Son of Man.  Noah, when he prophesied concerning his sons, blessed the LORD, God of Shem – not Shem personally (Gen. 9:26). Yeshua, when He encouraged and comforted His disciples before His crucifixion and resurrection, told them that the world would hate them because it hated Him first; and for this reason: that He chose us out from the world and so we are no longer of the world (John 15:18-19). Thus anti-Semitism and anti-Christian persecution are both first and foremost spiritual in their nature and directed against YHVH and His Anointed One – whether Jesus Himself or His people who are called by His Name (Num. 6:27; 1 Pet. 4:14,16).

We see in the passage from Lev. 16 that two goats were taken from the children of Israel for one sin offering (v. 5). The first goat was for YHVH. He (It) made atonement for the sin of Israel regarding all things pertaining to God’s Throne and His dwelling place amidst the people, and the altar of reconciliation. No hands were laid on it; no blood was sprinkled on the people. Jesus Christ died unto the LORD, to glorify God His Father, to take away the sin of the world. On the basis of this atonement, the good news of the glory of Messiah (2 Cor. 4:4), God the Father is able to have mercy to whom He will be merciful, to have compassion upon whom He will be compassionate, to save whosoever will believe in the Name of His Son Yeshua (Jesus).

Upon the second goat, the one that stood live before the LORD after the first goat’s sacrifice and atonement, the High Priest laid his hands and confessed upon it all the iniquities of Israel, all their transgressions in all their sins. Truly the Day of Atonements. (Yom HaKippurim; Lev 23:27-28; Dan 9:24; Jer 31:31-34; Zech 12:10-14; Rom 11:26-27)

This second goat – the scapegoat – was sent to a land not inhabited (Is. 53:8; Mt. 4:1; 27:45-46; 1 Pet. 3:18-21) –not to the land of the living to shame us – bearing all the sins of the people – removing them with the guilt of them away from the camp for one year until the next Day of Atonements. Both goats together, God is satisfied with respect to His righteousness and justice, and also to His lovingkindness and mercy.

The scapegoat, in remaining alive as a sin-bearer, was a reminder to Israel for her sins, and a witness to Azazel, who accuses the brethren night and day, that God has been reconciled, that He has forgiven the sins of His people. For the believer in the finished work on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; in an accomplished atonement for iniquity, transgression, and sins; and in the full price paid with His own life and blood that God demanded to pardon and to cleanse both things of earth and of heaven – there is now no condemnation when we identify, or are identified through faith, with the outcast scapegoat and value the benefits of His sacrifice for atonement. (Heb 13:12-13)  Satan’s power and claims upon us are broken. We have peace and fellowship with God the Father and with His Son and with one another in a spirit of meekness.

To the unbeliever – especially within the household of faith – the scapegoat is but a continual reminder of his own guiltiness and uncleanness before the LORD and before the children of God. According to tradition, Israel at some time in her history began to take up the scapegoat laden with her (Israel’s) own sins to the top of a cliff, and pushed it off from there to its death below – to Azazel, in their way of thinking (Lev. 17:7-9).  Instead of being thankful and sympathetic for the innocent scapegoat who was made sin, they wanted to get rid of it, not realizing what they were actually doing, thinking that in this way the goat could not come back into the camp with their sins!  This is unbelief in the grace of God provided by the substitutionary sacrifice.

But God provided for the otherwise innocent goat to remain alive as a testimony to Satan that God atoned for and forgave His people – and in fact the world – and as a witness to Israel (and to us) of this central truth regarding the reconciliation: that man can not rid himself of sin or of a guilty conscience by leaning on our own understanding to carry out the wisdom of God. And as Israel, through unbelief in the commandment of God, wanted to kill the scapegoat then – and so dishonor and disobey the Lord – so now Israel and many within the Church and in the world strive to blot out the memory of their own guilty consciences, due to their iniquity and sins before a holy and righteous God, by blotting out the Name of Jesus – not recognizing that He whom they have pierced is their Savior. They hate Him without cause (Ps. 69:4). The reproaches against God the Father have fallen upon Jesus the Son (Ps. 69:9). Because the Scapegoat lives we live, and remember from whence we came! What God intends for good, both Satan and men call evil (1 Pet. 4:14,16). Let us not join them!

It is the blood of Yeshua the Messiah, the once and final sacrifice for sin, which cleanses from a guilty conscience, both for now and for eternity. He is our Great High Priest who lives to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25; see Hebrew of Is. 53:6) as we abide in faith in His death and resurrection for our forgiveness and justification. He is still our sin bearer and guilt lifter. God has, through the Lord Jesus, reconciled Himself to sinful men and has given us His Spirit. For us who have received the reconciliation (the peace), we have a ministry to preach to men to reconcile themselves to God.

The High Priest is still in the sanctuary in the presence of God making atonement with His blood as far as Israel and world are concerned (Lev. 16:17). But when they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced (Zech. 12:10); when they make Jesus their guilt offering (Is. 53:10), then truly will Israel afflict her soul and enter into God’s rest. The whole creation will enjoy the Sabbath rest of God! (Lev. 16:31). And to whomever does not abide in the longsuffering of God’s goodness, there simply is no more sacrifice for sin.

YHVH God Himself accepts full responsibility for making possible sin and evil in His universe. For this, He gave His life and blood on the altar – the cross – for atonement and redemption and salvation. Fear God, for it is He who forgives sins (Ps. 130:4; 25:11-14; Mt. 10:28). God the Son became the Son of Man that we might become sons of God. If anyone here is looking for a scapegoat – or needs one – know that God the Father in His love for you has given His Son Jesus, who willingly in His love for His Father and for us bears the shame and reproaches that rightfully belong to us. We, too, are to identify with Yeshua outside the camp, bearing His reproach, as people blame Him and us for their own troubles.

Perhaps there are some here tonight who are struggling in your personal relationship with God and in knowing His peace and love of a Father for you. Believe what He says regarding the completeness and perfection of Jesus’ death and resurrection both for the Church, for Israel, and for you. The just shall live by faith! Perhaps others here take for granted your relationship with God because you take for granted that Jesus died and that God forgives you. But in your heart you have no conviction of the sin in you. Except the knowledge that Jesus suffered God’s judgment as your substitute brings you back to the cross where the King of Glory not only died for you but also because of you and your iniquity, transgressions, and sins, then you are in danger of standing before Him with the many who will say to Him, “Lord, Lord. . .”, but He will answer, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity.”

Let each person examine and judge himself and so eat of the bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. Let us be ever mindful and thankful to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the glory and to the Lamb who sits upon the throne! Amen.

Lev. 16; Ps. 69; Is. 53
Acts 2:22-39; Heb. 9 – 10; 13:13
John 10:17-18 (sacrifice); 11:49-50 (scapegoat)
Figuratively: Mt. 3:13-17 (unto YHVH); 4:1-11 (unto Azazel)

FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD/LORD’S SUPPER – 18 Apr 1992

Scripture Reading:  Ex. 12:14-20; 1Cor 5:6-8 [Lev. 18:3-4]   Purge out the old leaven!

In the Bible there is a vital connection between the past and the present as a preparer for the future.  The Word of God is prophetic.  The sacrifice of the Passover lamb was God’s provision for the redemption of His people Israel, who were slaves in Egypt and to the ways of the Egyptians; immediately, this redeemed people are told to have no leaven in their houses – put out the old; allow in no new.  Then following comes the offering of first-fruits in the promised land leading to Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), with its new meal offering containing leaven, a great difference from what had gone on before (similar to the New Covenant, which is not like the Old Covenant).

Emerging from this, yet transcending it – for God has shown us a more excellent way! – is the Passover sacrifice of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, with His blood shed for redemption of all who believe that have been in bondage to the world and the sin of it; His burial removing the believer’s sins (leaven), and therefore the condemnation, and on account of this good news we confess and identify in baptism as having died to sin.  The thoughts and the lives of the redeemed disciples of the Messiah were forever changed after the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus whom they loved because He loved them, even unto the death of the cross, but it was only knowing and believing that He rose from the dead that dispelled their fears and despair and doubts.  Their faith in the certainty of His being alive and firstfruits unto God led them on in joyful obedience and expectation to the fulfilling of the promise from God the Father through Yeshua the Son when the Holy Spirit filled the first 120 believers on Shavuot (Pentecost) as a new meal offering to God, made acceptable by faith in the blood of Jesus for redemption and salvation – both now and forever!

We live today in the light of God’s revelation when the end of the age is upon us and the coming of the Lord Jesus draws near.  The Lord’s Supper of which we partake reminds us to remember His death until He comes at the last trump!  Christ risen from the dead is our life, our righteousness, our hope.

What do the verses we have read regarding the leaven and the unleavened bread have to teach us in the context of the New Testament regarding our lives as redeemed people? Jews and Israel do it symbolically once a year for seven days throughout all generations; Christians  and the Church are to live in the reality and substance of it day-to-day throughout all our days and years:  purge out the leaven (the sin) from each our own hearts and life and from the congregation.  Get out of the world quickly – bring no leaven with you, the thoughts and ways from which you were delivered; find out the Lord’s will for your new life – do not just do what others have done (Lev. 18:3-4); do not put in new leaven of malice and wickedness, or of [religious] hypocrisy, [scientific] rationalism, or [political] worldliness, which all defile the person.  But rather, reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive unto God and righteousness; put off the old man and put on the new man in Christ Jesus throughout our lives!  Whoever is born of God does not nor cannot sin as a characteristic or fruit of his life. (1John 3:9; 5:18)

 The Lord redeemed us and brought us out of darkness and bondage in order that we should be holy, for He is holy, and that we should be His people and He would be our God – in fact more than this:  that we as the Body and Bride of Christ would be a people through whom God can manifest His glory in Heaven here on Earth.  We have a heavenly place and testimony to maintain, and to guard against Satan’s warfare against that truth and grace.

Why should we concern ourselves with what the only wise God and Savior obviously takes quite seriously?  Because we show that we love Him when we obey Him, and also because through faith in the blood of Jesus, God has made us both holy and righteous (unleavened) in His sight, and we honor the Lord and His cross by living a life of faith which testifies to what God has done for us and to what He has called us to be. 

 How do we show that we are purging out the old leaven?  How do we show that we are thankful for this great salvation and for YHVH who has done it?!  How do we show that we have the righteousness which is by faith, and that our faith in Jesus Christ and His blood keeps us in this righteousness of God?  What is the lesson of unleavened bread for us as Christians?

 The answer is that which governed Yeshua Himself when He walked through the Land to glorify His Father in Heaven:  to love and to do righteousness, and to hate and to stop sinning.  (Ps. 45:7; Lk 1:73-75; Heb. 1:8-9)
         –We are to be meek and lowly in heart.
         –We are to love the brethren, even love our enemies.
         –We are to overcome evil with good.
         –We are to be honest in word and deed.
         –We are to be compassionate towards the poor and needy amongst us.
         –We ought to walk in a manner worthy of our redemption, of being called children of the God of            glory, worthy of the sure hope we have as a promise from God. (Lev. 11:45; 19:35; 22:35-38; 26:13; Deut. 16:3; Lk 6:27-49)

This we can do only in the power of the Holy Spirit by forgetting ourselves and looking and thinking upon Him, who was crucified and is now risen in exaltation; by counting all things loss, not simply because of our deliverance, but because of the excellency of Him whom the Father has sent and received again, the Lord Jesus Christ!

He who knew no sin (unleavened bread) was made sin (leavened bread) for us that we should become the righteousness (unleavened bread) of God in Him!

Scripture Reading:  Rom. 12:1-2 [Mk. 9:49-50]  “Present ourselves as living sacrifices (whole burnt with new meal) to God. . . and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. . . .”

The appointed times of YHVH are fulfilled in Messiah, to be observed in reality throughout all generations.  Amen.

Feed on Messiah, the Lamb of God, slain for our redemption and for the glory of God!

BETROTHED TO YESHUA – 2 Mar 1991

2Cor 11:2   Engaged to the Lord
2Pt 1:4       Promises of God to escape worldly corruption and to partake of divine nature
Gen 24:50-58   Rebecca’s betrothal (engagement) to Isaac

When any person – whether Jew or Gentile – is born-again through repentance and faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he enters into a new, covenantal relationship with God as Father, who gives him/her the Holy Spirit, and the believer knows that he is joined to the Lord.

God gives us His great and precious promises not only to realize them in the world to come, but also to affect our lives here today:  that we would set them before us and allow the living hope of them to work in us to transform and cleanse our souls and our lives.  These promises are not for any particular individual alone, but rather to all members of the Church, the Body of Christ.

One of these wonderful promises God gives to those in Messiah is to become His Bride!  We become engaged to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, when we believe on Him as Savior and Lord.  This is a profound mystery:  the union of Messiah and the Church (all Christians collectively), of which Adam and Eve – the first man and wife (woman) – are a type.

I am convinced that one reason in God’s wisdom for leaving us in this world after we have believed the gospel and been saved is in order that our love for our Man, the Lord Jesus, becomes ‘hot’, so that on the wedding day we are truly prepared to be His holy bride and wife.  The Holy Spirit works in our lives that we would love Him whole-heartedly – He who is love and who is perfect.

Let’s consider briefly some pre-marital counseling.  (This same counsel will help also in our present relationships of husband and wife.):

As I already said, the Holy Spirit works with us so that we will be a suitable helpmate for our husband-to-be, the King, the Lord Jesus; in other words, He teaches us to be a good wife and worthy Queen!  Before our conversion, we did not appreciate nor love Jesus – nor, for that matter, God and His people.  Even afterwards, we may think and say and do things which indicate still a lack of proper honor or love towards Him.  But the Spirit works to increase our knowledge of Him so that we will be willing – no, yearning – to be with Him!  We must, therefore. . .

spend time together with Him who would be our husband during the period of engagement.
   –by reading the Scriptures, which all speak of Him and of His Kingdom, and by meditating on His word
   –through prayer, being in communion (fellowship) and communication with God for the glory of His Son Jesus
   —fellowship with others who know Him and love Him – with other family members and friends – this Man who takes common sinners and brings us into His royal house (Ps 45)

growing in personal knowledge of one another’s character traitsWe learn more of what God is like as we walk with Jesus, and we learn more about ourselves.  We learn what He likes and what He does not.  By taking hold of this great promise, we allow ourselves to become more and more the ‘woman’ He wants – even though He took us ‘as we were’.  The Man and His woman identify more with one another and become more compatible.  He has eyes for you only, and His bride has eyes and heart only for Him.

–the third aspect is that we recognize that there are mutual responsibilities in becoming the wife of the King of Glory.  He is the Head of the house, yet He gives us to manage many of His affairs – in accord with His will and pleasure (Pr 31).  He has so loved us and gives us so much about which to feel good and secure that we want to do only what pleases Him and what becomes Him (is worthy of Him).  It is in Him, my Husband, that I find my true and whole identity:  my whole self (1Cor 11:3).

God has created male and female together in His image and after His likeness, and it is in the marriage relationship – of the woman being [re]-joined to the man – that we become one flesh, and, in Christ, one spirit also.

When we agree to receive Christ as He is presented in the gospel, there are three results from these three aspects (spending time together; personal knowledge of one another; mutual responsibilities) of building and developing our personal relationship in preparation for a happy and enduring marriage:

  1. We must send away all other lovers who have any claims on us.  Our husband will have no other competitors or partners.  He is jealous for His holy name and for His bride.  The names of the “baalim” must be taken out of Israel’s mouth and then YHVH marries her (Hos 2:16-20 Eng; 18-22Heb).

Some will love father or mother or sons or daughters more than they will love their spouse; some love their work or their       ministry more than they love their spouse; some love their books or their sport or their food and drink more; some love themselves more than they love their spouse.  Yeshua loves His bride as He loves Himself.

The Holy Spirit works to bring us to where the first and great commandment will be true in us:  to love the Lord our God with  all our heart, soul, mind, and strength – and to where our heart’s desire is that our Lord, our Husband, should come for us quickly.

2.  We must like His law as well as His love.  Messiah will not be Husband where He will not also be Master or Lord.  We are to be as daughters of Sarah and know our husband as having authority over us in the Lord.  He (Jesus) is the perfect one, and as we give Him His place to rule over us, then our desire grows for Him, even as YHVH God spoke to Eve concerning her relationship with her    husband Adam.

3.  We must take our Christ/our husband for better and for worse – with His cross      and with His crown to suffer for Him as well as to reign with Him – to identify with Him in His shame as well as in His glory.

To summarize:  there are three aspects to building a marital relationship:
1.  shared time together
2.  personal knowledge of one another’s character traits
3.  mutual responsibilities.

From these will be three results to assure a good marriage and household peace:

      1.  We will allow no one and no thing to interfere with or separate us from or trouble us in our love and faithfulness towards our  spouse;
2.  We will accept his authority as well as His love;
3.  We accept and stand with him in good times and in bad, in prosperity and in hardship.

What response do we find in our own souls towards Messiah Yeshua when we hear of Him from God’s servants?  Is it ‘hot’ enough that we will do whatever He asks or requires of us?  Would we rather die for Him than live without Him?  Are we exhorting and encouraging one another in His claims upon us and and upon our lives?  Are we telling others of the glad tidings – of our Savior and Beloved Jesus who desires us with His whole heart?!

What is your reply to the telling of God’s Word concerning Christ by Hi servants to the question put to Rebecca, when she was asked concerning taking Isaac for a husband?:

Will you go with this man?” (Gen 24:58)

Blessed is the soul who believes the promise of God to take Messiah’s hand in marriage! (Ps 33:12):
   “Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance!”