PHINEAS, AND GOD’S COVENANT OF PEACE

YHVH God makes and keeps covenants.  He is righteous and faithful to keep them all until they be completely fulfilled.  This makes them everlasting:  until He fulfills them, no matter how long it takes; and, until the end of history.  It is the New Covenant – a better covenant – which not only finds fulfillment in time – through the coming Millenial Kingdom of Messiah – but, even more so, seals the promise of eternity, when time is no more, and will be the foundation of the new heavens and new Earth which God will create for all those who love the Father and His Son.

One of the most interesting covenants which YHVH has made is often overlooked.  He made it while Israel was still in the desert before they entered the promised land of Canaan, around 1400 BC.  This covenant preceded the Davidic covenant by several hundred years, yet is just as significant regarding the Levitical priesthood as David’s is pertaining to the throne. (Jer 33:19-22)

Num 25:1-13
Phineas (Pinchas in Hebrew), son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the High Priest, was zealous for the honor of YHVH his God at a time when Israel was unfaithful to God and His holiness.  This was reckoned to Pinchas as righteousness (Ps 106:28-31; Ja 2:14-24).  The LORD promised to Pinchas, and to his descendants after him, an everlasting priesthood – a covenant of peace, in which the one true God would forever show His favor upon the family line of Pinchas.  We see the beginning of this in Judges 20:27-28 where Pinchas is honored by serving God before the Ark of the Covenant in the Land of Israel (about 1380 BC).

Just as Israel’s history seemed to collapse, God knew His way to restore us as a nation and will fulfill all His covenantal promises to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob. . .and to Phineas.

Let’s trace this out:
1Sam 2:12, 34-35  Eli the priest had two corrupt sons who did not know YHVH; God will replace them with a faithful priest after His own heart and mind, and will walk before His anointed forever.

The rebellion against the heir of the throne of David, first by Absalom, then by Adonijah:
2Sam 15:24-36: 1Kg 2:26-27  Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to YHVH in fulfillment of YHVH’s word concerning the house of Eli.

1Chr 29:22; 2Sam 8:17; 1Kg 1:34  Zadok was established instead of the son of Abiathar as priest to YHVH by Solomon when he became King of Israel, and Zadok was the priest who anointed Solomon as king after his father David.  

Who was Zadok?
1Chr 5:27-41 [6:1-15 Eng.]  Zadok was a descendant of Pinchas!

Who was Jozadak’s son?
Ezra 3:1-2  Jeshua (Yeshua in Heb.) the priest is Jozadak’s son, and is, therefore a descendant of Zadok and Phineas.

Who was Ezra?
Ezra 7:1-6,10  Ezra the priest, who loved the LORD and His Law, was a descendant of Zadok and of Phineas!

God was keeping His promise to Pinchas over 850 years later when some of the Jews returned to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

Who is Jeshua (Joshua/Yeshua) the priest?
Zech 6:11-13 (Hag 1:1; 2:2)  The BRANCH (Tzemach in Heb.), who will build the Temple of YHVH and be a king and priest on YHVH’s throne! “And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

This is a clear reference to Yeshua the Messiah, whose right to the priesthood transcends the promise to Pinchas – fulfilling it and going beyond – and is fulfilling the promise of God to Messiah, Son of David, the Branch (netzer, shoot, from out of the roots of Jesse) (Is 4:2; Jer 23:5-6), that He would be a priest forever [not after Aaron and the tribe of Levi, but]according to the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4; Heb 5 & 7), and also King on the throne of David, of the tribe of Judah.  This carries us beyond time and also manifests God’s kingdom of priests over Israel and the nations in time.  Yeshua is Lord of Heaven and Earth!

Ezek 37:21-28; 40:46; 44:15; 48:11-12 (2Sam 15:24-36; 1Kg 1:8,34)  during the Millennial Kingdom on this Earth – fulfilling the promises of God which He has made in His covenants for Israel, for the nations, for the animal kingdom, for all nature and the created order – it will be the sons of Zadok, the descendant of Phineas, who was a faithful priest to serve YHVH, who will have the honor of the priesthood.  Our God is faithful and able to fulfill His promise made over 3400 years ago to Pinchas, who acted with holy zeal for the glory and honor of his God.  God has staked His holy name and the entire created order on His promise and ability to faithfully fulfill to the family of David (the kingship) and to the family of Levi (the priesthood) His covenantal promises. (Jer 33:14-26)

God our Father knows each of us.  The lists of genealogies in the Bible prove His power and love and His personal interest in His people and His Kingdom.  They help us to know the history and to have confidence in God’s promises.  Even if we are unfaithful or unable, He is not.  YHVH our God knows how to fulfill His word to each of us, too, even when it seems all has collapsed or that others have somehow ‘gotten in the way’.

Through our faith in Jesus, we have each and all together received exceedingly great and precious promises, including God’s peace, a peace which surpasses understanding. 

2Pet 1:2-4  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.     

We are called to be salt and light in the Earth.  There are times we must “confront the issues rather than adjust to them” (Francis Frangipane, 20.1.06), and to “care enough to act” with God’s jealousy, like Phineas, to put the fear of God in our society, and to protect and give the possibility of liberty to those under the influence of evil.  Jesus says He will be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father and the holy angels, of whoever is ashamed of Him and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation (Mk 8:38).

In Messiah, we have received even greater promises than Pinchas.  Let us, like him, be zealous for the Name of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who for the zeal of His Father’s house, died on the cross for God’s righteousness to make atonement for the sins of His people.

God honors those who honor Him.  (1Sam 2:30)

LIVING BREAD OF REDEMPTIVE PROGRESS

The distinctiveness of Israel, even of its 12 tribes  — 12 loaves of the showbread [Bread of the Faces/Presence] (Ex 25:30; Lev 24:5-9) —amongst the nations remains valid all the way through to the end of the coming millennial kingdom.  The last nine chapters of Ezekiel make this abundantly clear, as does chapter 7 of Revelation (not to mention the names of the gates of the New Jerusalem being the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel).  God knows how to keep track of this somehow (reverently speaking, of course!).  Only priests could enter inside the Holy Place:  the priests were in Israel but not of Israel.  The showbread presented the face(s) of all God’s people represented in the whole House of Israel, the twelve tribes, and only the priests partook of the leavened loaves of the bread of God (Lev 21:6), as they represented all the Children of Israel to God, and were God’s mediators to the people.  God looked upon His people through the lens of the ultimate sacrifice by fire of His Son for them to dwell forever in His presence.

The distinction between Jews and Gentiles — 2 loaves (Lev 23:15-18) for a new meal offering containing leaven in each one initiated at Shavuot — remains valid throughout the same period, as Yeshua/Jesus will reign over Israel and the other nations during His Kingdom on Earth, and we will be reigning and ruling over them with Him.  It is important to remember that the Church was a mystery until the revelation through the gospel, especially to the apostle Paul. (Eph 3:3-11)  In God’s redemptive plan and purpose, all people everywhere stand equal in His sight – sinners all needing repentance unto salvation for whom Messiah died — Yeshua having broken down the middle wall of separation and enmity between the two (Eph 2:11-22).  The new grain/meal offering (Lev 23:15-21) of a new covenant is presented upon the foundation of the sinless Passover sacrifice – Who became sin for us on the cross, so fulfilling the sacrifice for the atonement of our souls (Lev 16; 2Cor 5:14-21).  The counting of the sheaves begins from the day of the first-fruits resurrection of Jesus from among the dead on the day after the Sabbath during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week (Lev 23:9-22; Mt 28:1-7; Acts 1:3-5; 2:1), and at the first-fruits harvest at Shavuot/Pentecost, , the new living sacrifice of sinners from all humanity is presented by the priests to God through Messiah, who died as the Savior of all, but especially of those who believe.  YHVH God, in His abundant lovingkindness/grace, makes room for the multitude of the nations to join with His chosen people (Ezek 47:21-23), and we remember Messiah’s death till He comes. (1Cor 11:26)  We who have been saved are now priests of God in Christ, and present ourselves a living sacrifice with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth within us for His sake.  Not only of the Jews is He God, but also of the nations/Gentiles. (Rom 3:29)  At present there are three classes of people in the world — Jews, Greeks/Gentiles, and the Church/Kehila of God (1Cor 10:32).

It is this last designation that causes us the most difficulty grasping:  the kehila/church is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, while being neither Jewish nor Greek (Gal 3:26-29; 6:15-16).  It is evident that certain aspects of identity are not done away with as long as we are in this body, in this world, and as the Law and the Prophets are being full-filled through the sovereign wisdom of God (Mt 5:17-18).  The church  presents a “cloudy” picture of the truth of what the apostle Paul writes us concerning the resurrection body:  the seed sown is not quickened unless it die, and that which was sown is not that body which shall be….” (1Cor 15:35-49)  The natural seed of Abraham is in Isaac (Gen 21:12), by whom Abraham believed that God could and would raise the dead to fulfill His covenantal promises. (Heb 11:17-19)  This will be fulfilled when the full remnant that is “all Israel” is saved:  God will have virtually brought them back from death, even as He did Isaac.  The spiritual seed of Abraham are those who are in the Seed –the Son of Promise — who has the pre-eminence in all things:  Messiah, whose coming was foretold in the Garden of Eden.

But already now, believers are a new creation1 loaf as the Body of Messiah (1Cor 10:14-17; Eph 2:14-18; Col 3:9-11)– one new man in Messiah Yeshua (the heart and climax of the Lord’s High Priest prayer for our unity and love Jn 17:20-26 ) which we already are through saving faith in the Lord Yeshua and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us who are born-again.  Just as we already have eternal life now in Messiah, so, too, are we even now a new creation — in both cases waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:18-23) at the resurrection or the rapture, whichever applies personally at the time. (1Thes 4:15-17)  We are already sons of God, but the resurrection brings in the reality, similar to the resurrection of Yeshua being the seal of God’s declaration in power that “today I have begotten You”. (Ps 2:7; Acts 13:32-33; Rom 1:4; 8:23-24; Heb 1:1-5)  The one new man will rule and reign with Messiah as His Bride and as priests together with Him on the throne over Israel and the nations for 1000 years. (Rev 20:6)  We who are in Christ are beneficiaries of a better covenant, with better promises and a better hope than what even Israel presently anticipates in fulfillment of her covenant promises and hopes. (Heb 7:19,22; 8:6The one bread leavened loaf of the communion in the Lord’s Supper presents the face of all God’s family in the Body of Christ through the finished work of His Son on the cross, and only priests/followers of Messiah Jesus partake of that one bread of God of the table of the Lord, which is us. (1Cor 10:16-17)

Jews are the natural branches and can trace their roots and heritage back through all this, but without being able to prove the specific tribal lineage.  Gentiles are brought into the Commonwealth of Israel, but without becoming Jews or Israelis.  (Eph 2:11-13 This is much like during the time of the British Empire, when Canadians, for example, received many privileges and benefits of being part of the Empire, but they didn’t become English or British.)  As believers in Yeshua and abiding in Him, God still makes use of our natural heritage and identities…they still exist and greatly influence our personalities and even worldview…but these things are passing away (not, have passed away)… while the high and upward calling  in Messiah Yeshua is set eternally before each and all of us who believe to become the focus for shaping our eternal identity (Philp 3).  This is a great mystery, but it concerns Messiah/Christ and the church. (Eph 5:32; Ps 45:10-11 Eng)

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  ‘For who has known the mind of YHVH?  Or who has become His counselor?  Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?’  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever!” (Rom 11:33-36)

 

 

A BETTER INHERITANCE IN MESSIAH – 29 Apr 2005

(Delivered at Hephzibah Meeting in Marlow, Bucks, England)

When I first became a believer in Jesus as Messiah, the Son of the Living God, my immediate instinct was that the Gentile believers had taken away everything from its Jewish beginnings and, in doing so, caused most Jews to disregard the claims of the Christian faith and religion.  Then, as I began to read the whole Bible myself, the Holy Spirit began to show me that there was much truth in what Christians claimed, but there was little understanding to explain it in a manner that put it in perspective.  Of course, we Jews were guilty of the same things that we accused Christians of being and doing!

A couple of passages early on grabbed my attention, one to open my eyes and mind to the sovereign ways of God in His dealings between the Jews and Christians; and the other as a warning to believers from falling in a similar fashion as Israel, angels, and ordinary people have done long before and all along the way.      Mt 21:33-45       Jude 5-7

Then, of course, we have the letters to the Galatians and to the Hebrews – the Jewish believers — which plainly say that with the change of priesthood there is necessarily a change in the Law.  In other words, my own natural perception – even after becoming a believer and being baptized in the Holy Spirit – was skewed and self-justifying, but God’s Word justifies God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Even in the O.T. YHVH God says through Jeremiah that the New Covenant would not be like the old, implying something different and changed.

It is my concern that believers hold fast to what we have so that no one can take whatever crown or any other thing which God wants to give those who love Him and so abide in Jesus.  Pharaoh wanted Moses and Israel to leave things behind rather than giving all to God.  Moses understood that it would be YHVH – not His adversary — who would direct Israel regarding what to give up for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

There are roots to our faith, and they are Christ, Messiah.  Jesus Himself claims to be the Root and the Offspring of David (Is 11:1; Rev 22:16).  He also says that before Abraham was, He Is – I Am (Jn 8:58).  The seed of the covenant was planted in the soil of the Promised Land when YHVH God justified Abra[ha]m by faith, but that faith was in YHVH God and His Word.  The Israeli and Jewish people have been brought up in the hope of those promises, but it is the believer in that Seed – whether Jewish or Gentile – who is the benefactor of even greater promises and hope than the Jewish people andIsrael have at this time.

For you here tonight, your witness and testimony to man, and your prayers to God will be the more effective as there is the salt of the covenant seasoned into them.  So as to not fall from or leave our proper domain, let us consider some distinctives of New Testament faith and teaching that distinguish us as believers in Jesus from Israel – to whom Yeshua declared that all that is written in the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled, every jot and tittle.  These are to be realities, verities, so that we will remain in the faith delivered once for all to the saints.

The Church cp To Israel:

Gal 1:12; 1Cor 1:18-23   gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but rather a revelation from God in Heaven
Acts 17:6   the world turned upside down
Heb 9:11-15   redeemed by the precious blood of Messiah, of far greater worth than the blood of countless animals
Jer 31:31-32; 1Pt 1:4   New Covenant not like the Old; it is better by far
Rom 3:19-31   by faith we are saved, not by works of law for righteousness
Col 1:27; Jn 14:23; Rev 3:20   God is in us, not only for us or with us
Acts 2:16-18   Holy Spirit given to all believers, not only to prophets, priests, and kings; not only to Israelis or only to males
Jn 20:17   God is our Father through redemption, not only as Creator of all flesh and spirits, or of only the Jewish nation
Jn 15:14-15; Gen 18:17-19   we are sons and daughters and friends of God, not merely slaves or servants
Mk 7:18-19   food barriers are broken down; Jesus made unclean foods clean

1Pt 2:9   priesthood of all believers now
    —Heb 7   Melchizedek vs Aaronic priesthood
superior and transcending:  Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham
Ezek 44:9-10; Mal 3:3   Aaronic priesthood – an everlasting covenant of peace given to Phineas — fulfilledduring the Millenial Kingdom
Eph 2:11-22; Is 56:6; Lev 21:18   priesthood in Messiah now and then from any family, Jewish or gentile, male and female, and we will rule with Him on His throne
Is 56:4-5; Dt 23:2(3 Heb);  Lev 21:17-23       in Messiah, those physically impaired (flat noses) accepted, as well as eunuchs and illegitimate children through redemption and justification

2Cor 5:16-18   new creation vs this present creation
–sins forgiven and we re justified (redeemed and saved)
–indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Rev 20:6   blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection:  no fear of second death
2Pt 3:10-13   we look beyond the 1000 year kingdom to a new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells, not only reigns as it will during the Messianic Kingdom of God on this present Earth
Ezek 43 – 44   finished sacrifice of Jesus final for Christians, even during Millenial,  vs  continuing sacrifices forIsrael, even during Millenial
–there is no more sacrifice for sin for the Church
–no more need for those in Christ of a temple made with hands
Eph 1:22-23   Body of Messiah, who is Head of all things to the Church
–a vital union – head and body; husband and wife – in Christ
              versus –Mt 2:2; Jn 1:49; 19:19-21   King of the Jews, King ofIsrael
Rev 20:6; Mt 19:28   we will rule and judge with Messiah for 1000 years overIsrael and the other nations
Ex 19:5-6; Rom 9:4-8  Israel’s call and destiny is to be a special treasure to YHVH, a priestly nation under the Lord Yeshua, serving in His greatness rather than failing without Him being her King
Rev 7:4-8; Ezek 47:21 – 48:35   covenantal faithfulness

Lev 23:11,15-16; Mt 28:1; Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:2   day after the Sabbath, i.e., the first day of the week (Sunday)
 Gal 2:19   For I through the Law died to the Law that I might live unto God.
–Jesus was killed (offering Himself a sacrifice), being falsely accused under the Law, as a blasphemer  and Sabbath-breaker
–The Law can make no one righteous; we all need God’s righteousness.

1Cor 11:26; Ezek 45:21-25   The Lord’s Supper is only for the Church, and this until He comes again; it is not forIsrael, even during the Millennial Kingdom.

The Holocaust and Knowing God

Is 5:11-16, 21-24  Israel does not regard the activity of YHVH or the works of His hands.  God’s people in captivity [physical and spiritual] because of  lack of knowledge.  YHVH of Hosts will be exalted in judgment, hallowed in righteousness.  God’s people have rejected Law of YHVH of Hosts and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.

Tomorrow night begins Holocaust Remembrance Day, the remembrance of the worst calamity so far upon the Jewish people/the children of Jacob in our history.  The subject of the Holocaust always brings with it many questions:  Where was God, whom Jews and Christians claim is everywhere, all-powerful, and all-knowing?    Why did our God not intervene to stop or even prevent such unspeakable horror and sufferings and acts of wickedness?    If Messiah has come, as Christians say, and He has not forsaken His covenanted people, how could so many – including children, nursing mothers, religious Jews – be killed?    How could this happen in a “Christian” nation — Germany?    What kind of God is this who could see and allow such a thing?    Answers are not so easily offered.

Jewish persons and the people of Israel are witnesses of YHVH God, who created and chose us. (Is 43:10)  We are witnesses of who He is, and we are witnesses of what man is. (1Cor 10:6-11)  The lesson of Scripture is that a nation collectively, and individuals personally, are responsible before God for their own sin and consequent judgment, and for their own righteousness and consequent justification.(Ezek 18; Joel 3:5 Heb (2:32 Eng) )  The same God who made His Son Jesus a whole burnt offering for sin to die for our transgressions is the same God who brought a destruction upon His chosen people — whom He has called as a nation His first-born son — in judgment for our continuing unbelief and sin, in accord with the testimony of God’s covenants and written Word.  Our God is a Jealous God, who knows what is wise and good!

YHVH is a God of covenant, and He is faithful.  He does not change.  The God of the Tenach (O.T.) is the same as the God of the N.T.  The God of Israel is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many of us believe that the words and teaching of Yeshua recorded in Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21, Rev refer in large part to events still to take place – regarding Israel, the nations, and the Church – and that these things are not far off now.  What is spoken of in these places is something not yet experienced in human history, and the only deliverance can come from God Himself:  the God who has prophesied judgments is the God who promises deliverance and mercy to those who turn to Him for salvation.

When speaking about the Holocaust and its lessons, God is usually left out as being active in it.  It is always good and edifying to read stories like Corrie Ten Boom’s, because we see the works and ways of God in mercies towards innocent victims, and towards those who repent of their sins.  But even a Corrie Ten Boom needed to learn the ways of God in Messiah:  to forgive those who did such despicable things, not only to Jews, but also to her own Dutch family who tried to save Jews from being sent to Germany.  We Jews, who know that our own sins – both personal and as part of a nation – are forgiven, can offer comfort to Germans, especially to those who have saving faith in Jesus, to free them from a lingering sense of guilt and shame over their sins and those of their nation. 

When we leave God out of the discussion as to what happened and why, it is further proof that we do not regard His Law, or His Word, or His acts and righteous judgments, the very things by which He can and will be known and sanctified!  Those who would deny that God could allow such a thing become those who deny that He can send sinners, who refuse His terms of salvation, to hell forever.  The passage we read from Isaiah is consistent with the Words of YHVH through Moses in chapters like Lev 26; Dt 28; 32.

Read them to know better the great God whom we serve and in whom we have entrusted our souls for life.

It is evident that Holocaust museums, education on racism and antisemitism will not be enough to prevent what is cried aloud, “Never again!”  The same living Word of God written thousands of years ago still abides.  Judgments against sin and sinners come from the Holy and Righteous Judge of the whole Earth, firstly against those of His own people who refuse to walk in His ways and so receive all His benefits.

Even today, when the gospel is going out in Israel and believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah and Lord are greater in number than ever before, our religious and political leaders still oppose the truth of God our Father in Heaven.  The government is making its own plans for peace and security, refusing God’s, which is the only one which will succeed.  The believers in Arad are suffering threats and curses from those who claim to know God, just as happened in the days of Jesus and the apostles. 

How can we know God’s grace and mercy?:  Through His judgments, just as Adam and Eve; just as we who know the reason why Jesus came to die on the cross; just as Israel and the nations will learn as God brings every knee to bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (YHVH).  It is at the cross that we know God—both in His righteous judgment against all sin and sinners, and in His mercy and love for anyone who repents and believes in their heart that He is just in all His ways.

Jn 3:16-19  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

If we love our people, if we love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, we will bring the truth of God and His Word to them, that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sin of unbelief, so that they might seek God for His mercy to forgive.  As we remember the Holocaust, let us remember, too, the honor of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent.

The Holocaust and the Salvation of Israel: “Be Reconciled to YHVH GOD”

Lev. 26: 40-45   Israel and Jewish people confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking YHVH’s covenants

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction of Jerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people — whether kings or priests — represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience — or the contrary — the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust — that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way, in Hitler, the Germans living today — whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.      in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;

2.      in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek over Aaron and the Levitical priesthood;

3.      in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;

4.      in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

 There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more so if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    – Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    – “all the people [of Israel] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

 Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people of Israel (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4) — both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers” — for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Yeshua/Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

 YEHOVAH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people for Himself.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame – – and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
          –“These are the people chosen by God?!”

          –“Where was/is God?”

          –“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”

          –“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”

          –“God has forsaken and cast away the Jews!”

Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of — and 
to take away — that evil unbelief and rebellion, the sin of the world!

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

 As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations and churches against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness — because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for any nominal Christian) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jewish people, and to others.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen!

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            

             

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)