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!”

SOVEREIGNTY AND WISDOM OF GOD – 8 Apr 1989

It is joy to speak of Him who is perfect and harmless, and also of His Kingdom.  It is amazing, given the state of the world, the rampant unbelief in any particular god (or belief in every kind of god), and the widespread rejection, in truth, of the LORD God and His Anointed, that most people, when asked, think that God is too good to send people to hell at all, not to mention forever!  So we heard last week from Olavi.  This only confirms the Scripture that says even God’s enemies will praise Him.  What sovereign wisdom He has o accomplish this!

As a Jew growing up, my own concept of God – if there were One – was that there was only one, and that He was (is) all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, and that He had to be good.  After coming to faith in the truth of Jesus Christ, I only began to see the truth and wonderfulness of these vague and abstract concepts, and also in learning repentance to see the wisdom of sin being sin – not only that God declares it sin or sinful, but also His wisdom as to why it is necessarily so.

We (speaking of my wife Randi and myself) have been astounded in our relatively brief Christian lives (which, until you enter into the Kingdom of God, one doesn’t even notice) at the number and variety of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, yet say and do things completely contrary to the teachings of Scripture concerning such faith.  We have met professing believers who say that they hate God, who place their circumstances outside the instruction and wisdom of Scripture, who question everything which the Bible teaches or which the Lord does, presuming themselves in His place and doing – can you hear the serpent? – things differently or better!  The antichrist spirit in the old nature is present in every fallen man, and except for God’s mercy and grace towards us who are redeemed in Christ, we would remain His adversaries.

Apart from knowing in both our minds and hearts that Jesus is not only the Savior, but that He is also the Son of God, THE Messiah or Christ (which is to say The Anointed Prophet, High Priest, and King, whom God the Father has appointed, that He is the LORD and Lord of lords, etc., then our commitment and devotion to Him will certainly be less than single-eyed.  God has called each one of us to be His witnesses of the risen Savior and Lord, who was crucified on account of our sin, and who is waiting to come back.  We proclaim this, in fact, every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper.  His word abides forever and all the promises of God – from both the Old and New Covenants – are “yea” and “amen” in Christ Jesus.  We are each charged by God to be ambassadors not of Israel or of the United States or of Rumania or even of any particular church affiliation, but rather to be ambassadors of Christ and of His Kingdom, which is both heavenly and earthly, and which is both present and future.

How can we be effective and faithful ambassadors and missionaries when so apparently uncertain about God’s sovereignty and wisdom in each and every matter of what we call life and living – whatever the pursuit or vocation or culture, and in the reconciliation God has made Jesus Christ to be in His death and resurrection between persons who are otherwise unlike or inconsistent?  Brothers, sisters, friends, we have a God who is worthy of the name!

I want us to consider several passages of the Bible concerning God’s sovereignty and wisdom in four particulars, and to briefly elaborate on them:

Prov. 3:19-20 – Creation and Nature
There is order, stability, harmony of nature when God gives even relative peace; but confusion, unpredictability, disruption as man destroys his environs and as God intervenes with advancing judgments.

God is the true ecologist:  no waste, all things purposeful, each in its place and time.

What a wonderful thing to anticipate that day when the sons of God will be revealed and when Israel will receive her King, the Lord Jesus Christ, for then the curse upon creation since the entry of sin will be removed, and we shall see this present earth respond to the presence of her Maker!  All that is called ‘nature’ – plants, animals, inanimate things, people, seasons, the land and waters – will, shall we say, break forth in praise!  How amazing and powerful and delicate we find creation now.  What truths are spoken – some expressly, others concealed – in Scripture about God’s handiworks; how scientists continue to find only more marvelous discoveries of the eternal power and Godhead.  The Godhead speaks of the triune God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore how much God has communicated concerning Himself through His creation!  It is tragic that we have allowed what is called ‘science’ to separate true knowledge from the God of all truth.  No wonder the educational system has reached the low level of today, or that our children suffer so much from being obliged to pursue the things of this world – a world and an age (generation) which reject the Father and the Son and the Spirit of Holiness.

In Messiah Jesus and the New Covenant we are a new creation, and indeed look forward to the new heavens and new earth, the Kingdom of the Father, where God will be all and in all.  It is good to give thanks unto the LORD, the Creator and Redeemer, and for all the works of His Hands and of His Spirit – the God of resurrection.

Rom. 11:25-36 – Israel’s Salvation
The re-establishment of Israel is a sign of God’s faithfulness to His Word, as well as of soon-coming judgement and the return of the Lord.  What is occurring today in Israel is also in accord with the Scriptures, and a furthering of prophetic history leading to these events and the end of the age, when satan, man, and the world will have had their day ended, and the everlasting Kingdom of God will begin.

Historians, politicians, diplomats, academics are unable to understand Israel or the Jews (or the Arabs and Palestinians either) when it comes to grappling not only with the current situation but also historically.  This is to be expected by us whose minds have been renewed, since we are taught that the natural mind can not nor will not subject itself to the law of God and His sovereign authority and wisdom.

Paul the apostle, at the close of his teaching concerning the Jews and Israel in this portion of his letter to the Roman believers, breaks out into a burst of praise and adoration at the wisdom and knowledge of God—not only that God will use Israel for the benefit of the gospel amongst Gentiles, and in due time (even now) return His attention to the Jewish people, but also for the manner in which He is going to bring it about.  Again I say, we are to be ambassadors of Christ and of the New Covenant.  The love and righteousness of God will not permit us to take a simplistic position when God desires that all should repent and believe and so be saved.  He tells Israel that is not for their righteousness – in fact Israel is unrighteous – but rather for His holy Name’s sake that He will fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He says to the Palestinian, “Esau I have hated.”  The Word of the Lord has been spoken concerning each people, and He will fulfill it at the coming of Jesus in great power and glory.

This brings us to the Assembly (Church)—Eph. 3: 3-12.
God’s wisdom in dealing with earthly and national issues is beyond our capacity to comprehend, and this humbles us.  Yet the spiritual realm is even further beyond our capacity to lay hold of.  And that God can reconcile each as well as maintain their distinctions, who can not just fall down and worship Him and the Lamb!?

God’s eternal purpose through Christ Jesus our Lord is the Church, where He takes out from each nation an elect people and priesthood, and making them one body.  It is a high calling, and higher than Israel as Israel is seeking after.  It is the Church where we who are in Messiah have our position and responsibility and into which, through the preaching of the gospel, we seek to both bring in others through saving faith and baptism, and to build up one another in love.  While we maybe either Jew or Gentile, or male or female as God has sovereignly and naturally made us, yet the Assembly itself – which is both the Body of

Messiah and the Bride of the Lamb (combining both male and female aspects) – is neither Jewish nor Greek but rather a new and spiritual man, which we are commanded to put on, having taken off the old which is but natural and carnal.  Our relationship and unity are based upon who and what we are in Messiah, not on what or who we were before.

How could anyone think of anything more wise or wonderful?!  For gentiles are brought near to God in the Church and enter into New Covenant promises, which are better than those of the former covenant, which is passing away.  And Jews in Messiah are carried beyond O.T. promises to the remnant nation of Israel and also inherit New Covenant hopes and blessings – even now through the Spirit by faith.

1 Cor. 1: 17-25 – the Gospel
A brief illustration to show the simple purity of the wisdom of God which is to the world foolishness, but to us the power of God, that while the world continues to do what seems right in its own eyes, but whose ways lead to death, we continue to preach the good news of the crucified Son of God/ Son of Man, whom death could not hold and who therefore rose in power from among the dead, and whose Name is exalted above every name – both now and forever – in the heavens, on the earth, or in Sheol and Hell!:

The other day in Jerusalem we were in the Old City, and most of the Arab shops were closed on strike.  A few stood outside their closed doors and invited likely tourists inside and closed the door behind them.  This happened to us, and while I remained outside with Evan, I asked the assistant who stayed at the door about the strike and for how long he thought it would continue.  Then I asked if he was Muslim or Christian, and he answered Muslim.  I said that I was a Jew.  After a moment’s hesitation (I think due to surprise), he said “very nice to meet you”, and we shook hands.  Then I said that I am also a Christian.  He expressed the usual wonder and confusion as to how I could be both.  I said that I was born a Jew just as he was born an Arab.  But when I realized that Jesus is the Messiah after growing up being taught that He isn’t, then I became a Christian by faith.  I explained that Jesus is the One God sent for peace and that when He returns, then there will come peace here.  Then he asked if I didn’t believe in the current negotiations.  I said, “As a human being, I appreciate the need to consider each side.  But God has shown that Jesus is His Way to true peace, that anything else that may come out of these current negotiations will be temporary at most, a false peace, and will only bring judgment because God has given His covenant.”  The man responded that Muslims have another way.  I told him that Jesus is the Son, and no one greater is coming after Him.  God gave the Land of Israel (Canaan) to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to their descendants, but only when they accept Jesus will this be fulfilled.  To Ishmael and to Esau, the LORD gave a lot of other land, again to be fully realized only when they come to terms with the Lord.  But in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ, God has given me more than a piece of land, and to him, this Muslim Arab, God also offers much more than a small piece of this land – and forever.  I said that Yassir Arafat is not going to give his life for him, and Itzhak Shamir is not going to die for me, but that Jesus Christ has died for both him and me, and is risen from the dead, offering us eternal life through the forgiveness of sins.  God does not take a sword and hold it over someone’s head and say, “Believe or die!”  This is neither free will nor love.  When the time came to go, I told him to consider these things.

The sovereign and wise God has made peace through the blood of the everlasting covenant, the blood of the Son of God, even of God Himself.  This is true for the nation of Israel as it is for each one of us individually who has received that peace which is not as the world gives, but is that peace with God and of God which surpasses all understanding.

God is working to remove every doubt concerning Himself which allows sin to separate us from Him and from our fellow man.  This will end for us in Christ at the first resurrection and following the judgments of our works as believers.  He will continue this more fully with those who, in His mercy, enter the millenial kingdom on earth, in preparation for the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells.

Who has believed our report?  Remarkably few, when looked at in its totality however many uncountable multitudes there will be, praise the LORD!  Yet for that one pearl of great price, our Lord Jesus Christ became poor and bought us with a price, and has enriched us immeasurably.  He has become wisdom and the Sovereign Lord to us.  

E HAIM’S CIRCUMCISION – 28 Dec 1988

Gen 17:1,7,10-14 – Establishment of the covenant by YHVH with Abram (Abraham); identification with and relationship to the people, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
            John 7:22 – The circumcision is not of Moses, but of the fathers.

Deut 10:15-19 – Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Deut 30:1-6 — The LORD will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love YHVH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jer 4:1-4 – Circumcise yourselves to YHVH.

Jer 9:22-25 – Glory in the LORD; there is no difference –in themselves—between the circumcised and uncircumcised.

Rom 2:28 – 3:2 – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly [only]; neither is it circumcision which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart – in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.  What advantage then has the Jew?  Or what profit is there in circumcision?  Much every way:  chiefly, because unto them (us) were committed the oracles of God.

1Cor 7:19 – Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but rather the keeping of the commandments of God.  (E Haim means “stone of life”; our prayer is that he will become a “living stone” — e chaya — through spiritual new birth by repentance and faith in the gospel at an early age.)

Gal 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Philp 3:3 – For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

R’S DEDICATION – 7 Mar 1987

      1.  “Registration” of our children with the government of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Kingdom of God, before the Lord and before you, the local assembly of God, our brothers and sisters.

      2.  Want all honor to go to YHVH God and to His covenant of grace.

      3.  All come into the world with a sinful nature and in need of salvation.  This truth is taught in both the Old and New Testaments.  R (whose name is a ‘white broom bush/tree’ is by nature a sinner!  Have you ever considered that every person who enters the world contributes to the sin and evil of the world?  Parents – mothers and fathers – have a great privilege and responsibility to train up our children to both know their need of salvation and also to know Him who alone is the Savior.

      4.  Jn 16:21   It is interesting and noteworthy that in this passage, Jesus compares the sorrow and the joy of childbirth to His own return to His Father in Heaven and also to His coming again to the Earth.  We, as members of His Bride – and indeed all of the creation – wait and look for His appearance that all our sorrows be turned into joy.

      5.  Ps 25:10-14   the secret of YHVH to those who fear Him – to be His friends to whom He speaks freely, and to know His Son.

      6.  Is 49:5-8   The covenant of YHVH is Him whom Israel at this time still does not accept, that hates Him, the Servant of the LORD.  Jesus is He that will gather Israel!

      7.  Jesus alone fulfills all that is written concerning the covenants of God with Israel and for the nations, and the New Covenant is sealed in His body given for us and in His shed blood.  So it is that tonight Randi and I want to dedicate R to our Lord and God, Christ Jesus, with the Lord’s Supper, remembering the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God, who provides the blood covering for our household under the New Covenant, the everlasting covenant.  This better covenant with better promises was the desire and intent of God’s heart before ever there was a man on Earth to sin.

      8.  Jn 1:1-14   Jesus Christ is the true light of all who come into the world.  All who seek truth and true identity and purpose for living find them in Christ Jesus – or else remain in some measure of darkness – for the Light has come into the world.

      9.  True life is in Him.  Eternal life.  All men seek to live.  God has promised that in His Anointed One (Messiah/Christ), the Savior, in accord with the everlasting covenant, we have eternal life – life which is really life.

    10.  As parents we want to teach our children, by the grace of God, both through instruction and also by our own lives as examples, that the Word of the one true living God is our light and our life, in order that they, too, will want to know personally the Father and His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world.

    11.  Rev 5:9-14   Worthy is the Lamb. . .

T’S DEDICATION – 14 Sept 1985

–Next week marks four years in Israel:  full and interesting

–Before coming to faith I thought about the significance of Rosh Hashana, beginning of a new year.  What is important to us as Jews and new years in general?  Someone is watching over us and preserving us.  Another year of life.  I thank God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Watcher over Israel, the Preserver of our souls!

–Great joy for us that T, a new soul, has come into our life and that God is with us, that our house is under that grace of the New Covenant.  I did not grow up in such a household, but I thank the Lord for His hand upon us.  Tonight Randi and I want to dedicate T to God in Jesus’ Name as a token of our faith in Him and in His covenant.

 –I want to share some thoughts which I had during Randi’s pregnancy, including the birth pains and the birth process, as well as the expectation of parenthood:
    Ps 139:13-17   Fearfully, wonderfully made; from almost nothing to a living person; creation of God; true miracle.  Bones, mind, brain, senses, eyes, speech:  Something only the living God could do!   

       When I saw the head of the child (not knowing yet who “it” was), it was just a joy to realize the manner of our coming into the world, that God designed this way to do this!  Truly, as it is written, nothing clean can be born of a woman!  And yet how lovely and wonderful!

    Rom 8:16-25   All creation experiencing labor pains.  Can’t we feel them now?  Jesus tells us that the last days leading up to His coming back will be like that.  Some of us prepare in advance for the birth of our babies and for the post-birth period.  Are we preparing ourselves for the process coming upon the world until such time as the Lord takes us?  Are we placing our faith and obedience and trust in God to see us through the birth as well as to enable us to be of help to others?  While with Randi during the birth, I was impressed with the controlled yet increasingly difficult contractions.  I knew that God had designed this way and was encouraged that He was in control.  It is different for each person and  each birth.  We need to help one another believe in our hearts that the Lord will guide us through.

    Gen 3:16,20   Pain and sorrow in childbirth for the mother, out of which springs forth life!  Life from the dead; bread from the earth.  And her name is Eve, because she is the mother of all the living.  Christ and the Church!  Grace, blessing, joy!

    Gen 5:3   Children are born in image of their parents – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  All are born in separation from God due to inherited sin.  T is a little sinner who needs a Savior!  She needs to know Jesus Christ as her own Savior and Lord.  Randi and I are entrusted with responsibility to train up T in such a way as to lead her to Christ.  Only in Him will she be restored to the image of God in the likeness of His holy and righteous character by the power and life of the blood and the Spirit and the Word of God in her life.  Just as God gave His Torah (instruction, laws, rules) to teach Israel of their sinful nature and consequences so that they might know their need of God’s mercy and  grace in His love, so I think we have an example in this to instruct our children that they will not only recognize their need of God’s salvation, but also to want it – to want Him, who is a much better parent than we can ever hope to be.  We gave our daughter the name T, which is a ‘date palm tree and fruit’;  God gave His Son the name Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins.

       Our heavenly Father is our pattern, yet we also need His grace to raise T.  He forgives our trespasses as parents when we do not do or can not do all that His Word requires.  Yet we want T to honor us – for her own benefit as well as ours – so we must trust the Lord to help us be worthy of her honor.  Our Father in Heaven is the perfect Father, and sadly most do not yet know Him as their Father, rejecting Him and His love.  This relieves us as mothers and fathers of a great burden and of any overwhelming guilt, and we can rest in His love and grace as we seek to know and to do His will.

    Gen 18:19   Command children in the way of YHVH.  What is the way of YHVHEach child is different and we must consider them individually accordingly.

       Jesus says that He is the Way:  to the Father, to the Kingdom of God, to salvation and eternal life.  What is His way?  The way of the cross; of dying unto death; of willing, whole-hearted obedience and trust in His Father in Heaven; of love, sacrificing Himself for sinners and enemies to deliver us out of an evil world into that which is really life.  He humbled Himself in service in His holy love, for the cross is God’s judgment upon sin and its works.  Jesus humbled Himself and God has exalted Him.  He is risen from the dead and awaits His return to sit on His throne to bring peace to Earth through righteousness!

    2Pet 3:9-15   Knowing that the day is near, then how do we want to prepare ourselves and our children.  Nothing is better for us and for T but that the Lord Jesus will return.  Satan is the god of this world until the Lord is here.  What can be worse than the devil ruling?!  What could possibly be better than Jesus ruling?!  No matter what our current blessings or troubles, whether in our personal lives or in society or in the nation or anywhere in the world, the day is near when the Kingdom of God will destroy all the kingdoms of this world and the fruit of them.  We pray that we will be ready for His appearing.

We ask tonight for prayer for us that God give us the wisdom to raise T in His way and that she know that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!