THE TEMPLE OF GOD

Tisha b’Av/9th of Av

The Temple is a:
House of God– a dwelling place for the Father and his family
Throne room – King of Righteousness
Seat of judgment — Judge of Righteousness
Holy Place – glory and worship of God

Dt 12:11-14   the place where YHVH God chooses to make His Name abide.  There you shall bring all [of your offerings].
Josh 18:1; Ex 25:40   the Tabernacle – made according to the Heavenly pattern – set up in Shiloh      (for almost 400 years)

2Sam 7:1-7,11,13   David wants to build YHVH a house; God says that He never spoke a word about that to anyone from the tribes of Israel.  The Son of David (not Solomon nor a son of Solomon, but of Nathan Lk 3:31) will build a house for God’s Name, and His throne will be established forever.
2Sam 24:16-25; 1Kg 3:15   Jerusalem the chosen place for the altar of sacrifice to YHVH

1Kg 5:5; 8:27   Solomon directs Hiram to build a house for the Name of YHVH God; the Shechinah Glory was in that Temple, which cannot contain the fullness of the God of the Universe!

Jer 26:6   YHVH declares through Jeremiah that He will destroy the Temple and Jerusalem

2Kg 25:8-9; Jer 52:12-14   the first Temple – the House of YHVH – burned and destroyed by Babylonians in 586 BC

2Chr 36:22-23   Cyrus, King of Persia, commanded by YHVH God of Heaven to let Israelis return to the Land of Israel and build another House of YHVH in Jerusalem

Hag 2:1-9   new Temple built, not as glorious as the first:  the Shechinah Glory was not there!  Destined to be greater than the first temple and to be filled with the glory of YHVH:  Yeshua was there!

Zech 7:4-7; 9:18-19   no more fasting for believers in Messiah on the 9th of Av (the fifth Hebrew month), or in the month of Tishrei (the seventh month); all of these mentioned fasts(and in the 4th and 10th months) have to do with the destruction of the Temple, and the Babylonian invasion and captivity; Messiah Yeshua has brought days of rejoicing instead of mourning

Mt 24:1-2   Jesus prophesied the destruction of the 2nd  Temple, which occurred in 70 AD

Jn 2:19-22   Jesus Himself the Temple in His own body

Mt 12:6   Jesus greater than the Temple

1Cor 6:19-20   born-again believers are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are to glorify God in our     body and in our spirit; sacrifices of thanksgiving, of praise; our bodies a living sacrifice

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Dan 9:27; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:3-4; Rev 11:1-2   the antichrist perverting the Temple of God

Ezek 43:4-12; Mal 3:3   millennial Temple in Jerusalem in the Land of Israel, God’s dwelling place in the midst of the children of Israel, Levites offering sacrifices in righteousness

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Rev 21:1-4,22-23   no physical Temple in the new heavens and new Earth, for YHVH God of Hosts and the Lamb are its Temple.  The glory of YHVH God fills His new creation; God will be all in all!

BLOOD OF NEW COVENANT ON JEWISH PEOPLE

14 June 2011

Much ‘blood has been spilled’ over the outcry of the “all the [Israeli Jewish] people”to Pontius Pilate washing his hands wishing to be “innocent of the blood of this just man”:  “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Mt 27:24-25; Acts 5:28; Dt 19:10)

In the sovereignty and wisdom of God, and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this Scripture is full of life and death, for “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. (Pr 18:21) This publicly spoken word by the rulers and the common people had consequences which were not understood or foreseen when rashly uttered. (Acts 5:28)  When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he had no idea really of what he was doing and the dreadful consequences of his action – that in him all future human beings would be starting out in life as sinners and dying!

Through the centuries the Jewish people have suffered much because of the irrational hatred toward Yeshua when He walked among us.  The Romans and other Gentiles have taken those words and, still wanting to wash their hands of their own evil part in the crucifixion of this ‘Just Man’, caused horrible suffering to the Jewish people and to the nation Israel because of this blood we have brought on ourselves as being guilty of rejecting the Son of God, and seeing to it that He was put to death on the tree. (Acts 2:22-39)  The ‘curse’ of blood-guiltiness turns into the ‘blessing’ of atonement when any Jewish person or Gentile repents and believes the good news of salvation through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin and sins.

I want to look again at this shout of ‘all the people’ in the light of God’s sovereign grace reigning through His righteousness.  The blood of Jesus will either forever cleanse those who love life that comes through confession of Yeshua as Lord, and believe with our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, or else it will bring eternal condemnation for those who love the fruit of refusing the goodness of the Father to bring us into His household and family.

God has dealt with Israel in a unique way among the nations in that He has cut covenants with her fathers, extending to their descendants, including a chosen king and priesthood; and ultimately, in the fullness of time when Messiah came, God cut a new covenant with the House of Israel and with theHouse of Judah. (Amos 3:1-3; Rom 9:4-5; Jer 31:31; 33:17-25; Gal 4:4-5) The full meaning of these wonderful truths of the Creator and the Redeemer of the Heavens and the Earth will find their full expression only when the Lord Messiah returns to restore the Kingdom to Israel and over all the other nations.  This is crucial in the plan of God in order to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets, so fulfilling all the promises of God concerning all things. (Mt 5:17-19; Rom 15:8-9)  In the cutting of covenants – rather than merely ‘making’ a covenant – the shedding of blood is a vital part of the covenant in which a life has been sacrificed as the binding price of the ‘deal’.  And for our sins to be forgiven there must be the shedding of blood. (Lev 17:11)

At Sinai, the covenant with the Children of Israel from all of the twelve tribes was cut by the blood of oxen offered unto YHVH, God of Israel.  As Moses read the Book of the Covenant to all of the people, they said, “All that YHVH has said we will do, and listen to”.  Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which YHVH has cut with you according to all these words.” (Ex 24:3-8)  With this covenant, YHVH and the People of Israel became forever joined in covenant union.  Israelis and Jewish people may come and go the way of all flesh, but the covenanted nation with the God of the covenant endures forever!  Anti-semitism is first and foremost against YHVH Himself. (cp Acts 9:1-5)

In Lev 16:32-34 and again in chapter 23:28-29, the LORD gives His people the opportunity to have their sins atoned for and removed in order that He might dwell among them as a holy people, justified by faith in the provided sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sinfulness.  This blood of the atonement was given upon the altar for all of the people and for all else that pertained to the whole religious and civil life of the nation.  Any Israeli that did not afflict his soul that day for what God did to grant him life would cut himself off from his people – he would no longer be part of the people because he refused the blood that was shed to provide forgiveness for all his sins he committed under the terms of the covenant made at Sinai, and the covenant cut with those just prior to their entry into the land of Canaan. (Dt 5:1-3)

This means of atonement by the blood on the Day of Atonements was everlasting, and was God’s means until Messiah came to offer Himself as a guilt offering for sinners. (Is 53:10; Heb 9:23; 10:12-14)   At the last Passover supper with His apostles, Yeshua spoke to them about His upcoming betrayal and suffering and death.  The cup of the New Covenant in His blood, shed for all of us, but first of all for the House of Israel and the House of Judah, is our constant reminder that Jesus is the covenant (Is 49:8) which God has cut with His people. (Lk 22:20)  He is the Lamb of God who was slaughtered as an acceptable sacrifice to God, and “His side was pierced with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out”. (Jn 19:34-35)

He is also the Scapegoat who willfully, in His innocence, bore all their/our sins, and is wrongfully blamed for all our woes.

When Caiaphas, the High Priest responsible that year, said to the religious leaders who were alarmed at so many of the Jewish people beginning to believe in Yeshua, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish”, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle John to write:  “Now this he (Caiaphas) did not say on his own, but being High Priest that year he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (Jn 11:49-52Caiaphas did not realize that he was actually prophesying!  But if God can cause a donkey to speak, he can certainly bring forth truth from a man, even one opposed to or ignorant of His full intentions.  And being High Priest of the Israeli nation that year, the words of Caiaphas had power and authority, and his unintentional sin brought guilt upon the people. (Lev 4:3)

When all Israel accepted God’s covenant at Mt. Sinai with all its holy and righteous commandments, they did not realize what they were really committing to when they said “Amen” to put themselves under the yoke of the Law.  When all the [Jewish] people cried out that the blood of Jesus should be on them and on their children, they did not realize the consequences and power the words from out of their heart and mouths would carry throughout the generations and millennia.

Praise God!  On the cross, our Savior, the Son of Man, called out to His Father – and the Father of Israel (Ex 4:22) – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Praise God!  In His own divine love and wisdom, and in His own faithfulness to His Word, His promises, His covenants – He had His priestly nation ‘sprinkle the blood of the New Covenant’ firstly upon themselves and their descendants! (Lev 16:6; Heb 7:27; Is 52:13-15The atonement has been provided for the whole House of Jacob, and the way was opened for the Gentiles to also be purified and brought near!  The covenants belong to Israel of the flesh (Rom 9:3-5).  Those who repent and believe receive the blessedness of God’s grace and favor.  The day is coming when all Israel – the full remnant from all the tribes who turn from ungodliness – will be saved and enter into the good of the New Covenant cut with them by the One whom they have pierced. (Rom 11:26-27; Zech 12:10-14)  They will afflict their souls and cease from all their own works.  Those who still refuse His provided sacrifice will cut themselves off from their people and His people.  The blood of the Messiah which God promised to His people Israel has been shed for all people and nations everywhere at all times. (1Tim 4:10)  The Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world, and all of God’s covenants are based upon His eternal plan of redemption. (Rom 15:4; Rev 13:8)

Praise God!  His will has been done, is being done, and will be done – on Earth as in Heaven.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

A DIM LIGHT – 31 Dec 2010

Yesterday, the eighth and former President of the State of Israel, Moshe Katzav, was convicted as a rapist, sexual harasser, perjurer, and an obstructer of the judicial process.  http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=201648 

While this reflects favorably on the Israeli system of law — that no one is officially above it — it also demonstrates the sad state of affairs in a country which would allow such a man to rise to such a position of power and influence over a period of many years.  Not only is rape, sexual harassment, and adultery too often dismissed in this generation and society — placing many victims into the position of feeling like the perpetrators, which sometimes may also be the common truth — but a nation which has been called and chosen by the Creator and Redeemer of the Heavens and the Earth to be a holy people continues to dimly reflect this reality.

It is often said that Israel is called to be a “light to the Gentiles”, but the Scriptures actually show that the Messiah Himself — the true Servant and Elect One who embodies all that Israel is to be — HE is the One given as the Light:

Is 42:6-7   I, YHVH, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand;  I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people (Israel), as a light to the Gentiles; to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

Is 49:5-6   And now YHVH says, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of YHVH, and My God shall be My strength), indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the Earth”.

The whole of the Bible shows clearly the spiritual condition of God’s people — whether Israel/Jews or the Church/Christians —  and our need of repentance unto salvation and/or unto humble obedience in the fear of God.  Israel’s democracy is flawed, as are others who consider this form of government to be the ideal.  Yet God has not called Israel to emulate the Gentiles, but to be a kingdom of priests, and to return unto His righteous rule, with YHVH Himself in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) being her King in truth.  The ignoble conviction of Israel’s “Public Citizen #1” only further testifies to that.

Israel is in need of new birth, not merely correction and fixing.  She is in need of healing, not outwardly and physically only, but inwardly and spiritually.  She needs a new heart and a new spirit, even the Spirit of the God and Savior who still loves her for His holy name’s sake, and for the sake of the fathers — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.

Israel’s reflection of the true light is dim indeed:  she has preferred the works of darkness, rather than come to Him who is the True Light, whose life is the light of men.  All of her contributions to the benefit of the world’s peoples are as dead works, since they are done for her own praise and not for the praise of Him who has enabled her.  The former glory is fading and passing away, that the true glory may shine in its eternal fullness!

2Pt 1:19   And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Yesterday’s harsh verdict against the former Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, is a self-indictment:  we can not save ourselves however we may wishfully hope.  God has made it profoundly simple:  there is only one name by which anyone can be saved — Yeshua/Jesus!  Thank God for His love and faithfulness to keep His covenants, and may this next year see many more Gentiles and Jews come to His Light, shining like the sun in its strength.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!: OF WINTER AND SPRING – 2011

The one true living God has left His witness in every place, including in His sovereignty over times and nature.  The universe at large, and our unique solar system set within it, both bear witness to His Godhead and plans, to His times and His seasons.  (Gen 1:1-19; 8:22; Ps 19:1-6; Jer 31:35-37; 33:25-26)

The ‘modern’ calendar for the whole world till now is centered around the person of Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua).  The all-encompassing “creative” year begins in Winter around the season of His birth into the world and His circumcision, testifying to Him being the first-born of creation, and of coming in the flesh as a Jew. (Col 1:15-17; Lk 2:21-24)  The “redemptive” year — which YHVH gave to Israel for a testimony — is set within the overall created order, and begins in the Spring, during the season of Yeshua’s death and resurrection, upon which foundation our salvation is grounded through faith.  This newness of life which the Spring proclaims testifies to Yeshua being the first-fruits from among the dead (1Cor 15:12-23).

As the birth of Messiah came during the darkest and bleakest time of year, He also came as the Light of the world, with each day increasing its light in the hope of a ‘better and cheerful Spring’.

The believer in Jesus can rejoice in all of God’s wonderful works, from the beginning of the year through to the end.  His Word and His Spirit have given us to know and understand the times in which we live, and the signs of His coming.

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!  This is still the acceptable year of the LORD; Today, if you will hear His voice, is the day of salvation!

FIRE – 6 Dec 2010

The fires in the Carmel forests in western Galilee near the Haifa area have finally been brought under control, but at great human and natural loss.  Israel received help from a number of countries to help fight the fire, especially from the air.  Help even came from Turkey, whose relationships with Israel have taken a turn for the worse in the last year.  Government officials are under fire, and if nothing else, God has shown that no matter how much we may want to “make the world better” (which obviously means different things to different people), our version of a “better world” can go up in flames and smoke in an instant.  Mercifully, it began to rain today in Israel (including the Carmel region, and even in Beer Sheva), furthering helping to douse the burning embers of this devastating fire, which has been called the worst natural disaster in Israeli history.

Three prison guard trainees from Beer Sheva were among those killed in the blaze of those trapped in a busload to go into the danger zone to try to rescue prisoners from the area.  There were also others from Negev towns and cities who were among the killed, and a number of them worked at the Beer Sheva prison facility.  Our congregation, Nachalat Yeshua, took up a special collection to give to the Beer Sheva families as an expression of our sympathy at this time. 

The apostle Peter writes that just as the world was once destroyed by water, so will it be a second time, but by fire.  There may actually be something to global warming to set the stage for that.  Some of us may think that we will not be around for that; but what if some of us are?  What will we do?  How will we react, or respond?  Will our faith be found secure in the Lord and in His promises that all things are in HIS hands?  As it is written, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Our God is a consuming fire!  We dare not take Him for granted, but rather humbly place our whole-hearted trust in Yeshua, who died and rose again, and is coming again to renew His creation to make it a habitable place filled with the knowledge of His glory!  Hallelu-Yah!

With that in mind, here is a great breath of fresh air:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE  

Yeshua was born King of the Jews; He died on the cross as King of the Jews; and the day is coming that He will be the King of the Jews!  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Let us not be ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ or of His words in this generation, which is ours to be His witnesses and a praise unto Him.

ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IS THE WORD OF GOD – 25 Oct 2010

Pope Benedict XVI convened a special Vatican Synod in Rome, composed of about 200 bishops mostly from Muslim countries.  These official representatives of the Roman Catholic Church have reiterated in its strongest terms its historic ‘replacement theology’ and distortion of Scripture, reverting to official Catholic positions prior to adjustments stated in Nostra Aetate, an  interfaith document drafted in October 1965 during the Second Vatican Council.  In this latest synod to decide on important issues, the Vatican issued a declaration: “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable.”  This is a true statement. but their use of it here is not, for they are using it against the truth and integrity of YHVH, God of Abraham, of Issac, and of Jacob; the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. For they say,

“We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people … The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians… The justification of Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures.”  The Pope has yet to speak out publicly repudiating this statement issued by the Bishops representing him and the RCC.

If this is so, then the Roman Catholic Church should no longer use the Word of God to speak of itself as the ‘Mother Church’; or to claim that Peter, the Israeli Jewish apostle to the [Jewish] circumcision, somehow became the first Pope; or to use their interpretation of Scriptures to justify or minimize many of the sexual sins among and by the priests which have recently come to light; or to forbid marriage for certain orders within their church; or to elevate Mary above what is true about her.  At least this would be true self-judgment of their own abuse of Holy Writ, but all Christians have assurance about God’s promises to believers in Jesus because His promises concerning Israel and the land of Israel are also still true.

God, in His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge of all things, had Paul, the Jewish Israeli apostle especially for the uncircumcised Gentiles, write a very clear theological ‘treatise’ to the church in Rome on some of these very things! “To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever!”

YESHUA/JESUS IS COMING AGAIN! – 14 Oct 2010

This news is not new!  It is also good news for those who love His appearing!  It is the same “old” news!  It remains current news!

There is a wave of deception entering from without and working within the “Church” connected with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven to judge the nations and to establish His righteous reign over Israel and the rest of the world.  Many professing believers/Christians — and some are truly so — are re-defining terms to interpret the Word of God to be saying what He isn’t, or else to not be saying what He is.  The spirit at work in this seeks to de-legitimize both Israel and the gospel in their uniqueness; to make what God calls “new” (as in New Covenant and new creation) only something re-newed or re-cycled; and to weaken doctrinal support not for these only, but also for the hope of the literal and personal return of the same Yeshua/Jesus who ascended in bodily form to sit at the right hand of the Father until the time appointed.

The gospel/good news goes out to “whosoever” from whatever nation and group of people.  God is working to save whosoever repents and believes His good news concerning repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the free gift of eternal life to all who truly believe.  Any consequential transformation of a society or a culture is only in part and definitely temporary.  Only the return of the Lord to establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth is going to permanently change this situation at a universal level.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is working to bring as many as will to have part in the better resurrection, which is the first resurrection, which is far better than merely entering the Millennial Kingdom in the flesh for those of Israel and of other sheep nations who come through the great tribulation without giving themselves over to the antichrist, and upon whom Yeshua will show mercy and compassion at the end of the age.

To make this as simple as possible:  as long as Satan is the god of this world, then the world is not going to be transformed to a degree satisfactory to YHVH God and His Son; and as long as Israel — His chosen people and nation — remains an enemy of the gospel, then the God of Israel is not going to be satisfied with any lesser transformation.  Both of these conditions will prevail until the coming again of Yeshua, and thank God that the Father has set a time for this!

Therefore, it is for true believers not to lose sight of the blessed hope as we go about being light, salt, and a fragrance in the world in the faith, hope, and love that more individuals will have their own heart and minds transformed by that which is the power of God to save:  the gospel.  In God’s Kingdom, every part will be holy in order that all is holy.  It appears that the elect are going to be more and more “hid with Messiah in God”, and not be the most vocal and visible, or high profile, or most popular, or even most ‘influential’.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!

LAWSUIT UPDATE – Final

Today a small representation of leaders of Messianic congregations and other ministries from all sections of the country met together to discuss the lawsuit and its verdict and the ‘what now?’.  The ‘what now?’ is still an open discussion.  In the very short term, unless a very clear Word of the Lord should come to say otherwise, there will be no appeal of the verdict.  We spoke and heard today how the lawsuit was initiated and handled, and how the evidence was presented to the court, and the judge’s decisions during the course of the trial to our side of the case.  Another leader with a legal background was also present, who changed his mind from before coming:  he clearly saw along with everyone else that there is very strong legal basis for filing an appeal.  With that, no-one present — nor any who have communicated with me in the past few days — had a conviction that an appeal is the clear will of God.  Some were uncertain; others were against. 

I want to say that God has given His peace to us regarding the verdict handed down by the judge in our lawsuit against Beer Sheva’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, and against the international anti-Messianic/-Christian organization, Yad L’Achim (Hand to Brothers).  The Lord provided us with the funds required of us to pay the defendants and their lawyers, including the punitive reward they were given for their actions.  Some responded so immediately to donate towards our financial obligation that it can only be seen as a demonstration of God’s direct involvement.  Even some who anticipated the verdict to be as it was have stood with us.  This reminds me of the prophets in Antioch who warned Paul by the Holy Spirit what awaited him in Jerusalem, yet they blessed him when he knew he must go — also by the Holy Spirit.

The verdict was so one-sided and unjust, and the defendants and their lawyers were even rewarded for their involvement in the “serious event” (the judge’s own words) on December 24, 2005, that truly it is liberating to know that the case was not decided on legal grounds, but on religious.  The secular judge, in a civil court, deciding a civil suit for illegal demonstration, trespass onto private “church-owned” property, property damage, personal injuries, ultimately interpreted all the evidence to satisfy the religious precept that “to save a [Jewish] soul in Israel is like saving the whole world” (pikuach nefesh).  This precept allows even the Sabbath to be violated, lies to be told (“the end justifies the means”), harm to be done.  Praise God, He wants to save Jewish souls, and Yeshua/Jesus is the Savior of the world, especially of those who believe!  And we too, as believers in Messiah Yeshua, may use means that seem unacceptable to others, yet we are taught by the Lord Himself and by His apostles to preach the gospel and to act righteously because salvation ultimately belongs to Him, and not to any methods of men or of demons.

Laws restricting proselytizing to minors or by offering material inducements are good and proper, and protect all of us.  Seeking to prohibit all evangelism can serve no-one and no “free” society well.  It is ultimately unenforceable, and can only lead to repression of liberties of speech and conscience.  Should all political parties be banned from trying to gain supporters or members?  Should no one be allowed to present what he considers good reasons for a better economic system?  The irony here in Israel, of course, is that the very good news that is rejected and denied has its roots, stock, branches, flower, and fruit all right here!  And YHVH God is faithful:  untold multitudes of Gentiles have turned to the God of Israel through Jesus Christ, the King of Israel who will be also the King of the Jews, to whom He first came, and to whom He will return when they bless Him who alone truly and fully comes in the name of YHVH.  Then will they realize that the One they have pierced and have been rejecting is the One who has nonetheless really loved them.

We went into this suit in weakness:  we did not present any witnesses who have immigrated since the ‘Beresford Case’ on Dec. 25, 1989 (anyone interested that does not already know can look this up on the internet), so as not to put them in any jeopardy; we did not take to court certain persons who clearly were instrumental in the riot, knowing that they would not testify against the Chief Rabbi or against Yad L’Achim; we strived to respect the Chief Rabbi because he is the Chief Rabbi of the city, despite his total lack of regard either for us or for our self-control.  We acted on the principle that the person or agency in charge is responsible for actions taken by those under their authority:  after bombings, don’t people wait to hear who accepts responsibility for the evil deed?; doesn’t Israel hold Hamas, for example, responsible for rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities?; didn’t the world hold Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister responsible for the recent flotilla incident (even though refusing to hold the guilty persons, organizations, and governments accountable)?; don’t the Scriptures hold the religious and political leaders of the people more accountable than the common people? (Lev 4)

Our lawsuit was never about money:  we were not interested in their money, but we used the monetary claims against them to express the seriousness of what they were doing, according to existing Israeli laws.  We were seeking to uphold the right to assemble together legally without illegal interference.  We were not trying to gain equal rights or recognition for believers within mainstream Judaism, nor expecting that our lawsuit would prevent future attacks.  We did hope that our case might give some of those who now oppose us pause to reconsider the reasons for that, and the means they use to express their hostility.  Despite the judge’s off-the-record comments about the nature of the event — which justified a lawsuit — he himself trivialized it in his verdict by demanding we pay our adversaries the percentage of our claims, even if we did not satisfy him in sufficiently proving their personal liability.  It is a corrupt system in any country when even the police do not bring to justice those whom they have arrested for illegal acts, especially when they were eyewitnesses to it.  We were given no opportunity to reference the same defendants’ cooperation for a similar event on November 28, 1998, even though the judge allowed them to refer to it untruthfully to serve their purpose, accepting their testimony as true.  There are a number of legal and procedural reasons why an appeal of the case could justifiably be made, but the reality of the entire proceedings only confirms that the real nature of our battle is spiritual and not carnal.  Just as wars are a necessary part of life till now, yet never permanently solves the problems nations have towards one another, so, too, are legal battles sometimes necessary, but neither can they win the ultimate victories for righteousness and justice.  Only God’s own righteousness being imputed to those who have come to Him by His way and on His terms can change the heart, mind, and conscience of a person or of a nation.  Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH!  Not in words and prayers only, but in faithfulness and truth.

Israel is not called by God to be a democracy, but a holy people and nation under the rule of the Sovereign YHVH God of Heaven and Earth (Mic 5:2) for a blessing to the whole world.

We have sought to honor the name of our Lord and Messiah, Yeshua, the Son of the living God, whose name is casually cursed and blasphemed here, often without even realizing it.  Just as Israel is continually placed on the defensive by the likes of Hamas, with never even a legitimate defense that is acceptable, so, too, do many of my brethren — the Jewish/Israeli people — relate and react towards those who have repented, and now believe the Word of God spoken through Moses and the Prophets regarding YHVH’s Anointed One.  All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.  Hallelu-Yah!  God bless you in Messiah our righteousness.

No Confidence in the Flesh

Philp 3: 3-11 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in the Messiah Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so. . . .  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah.  Yet indeed I also reckon all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ. . . .

Tomorrow is Pentecost, the 50th day of counting the sheaves of wheat, according to the Law of Moses, which Jesus came to fulfill.  The counting does not begin from the day after His death and burial – or even from the time He descended into the lower parts of the Earth to set free the captives – but rather from the day of His resurrection, from the day after the Sabbath.  We who believe in Jesus as Lord and Messiah are a new creation.  We begin with resurrection life in Messiah and then begin to learn what it is to suffer for His sake, to die with Him to ourselves, to live our lives unto God and His will.

The gospel is not something Jewish, since the Law makes no one righteous, and we can not be justified by the works of the Law.  Neither is the gospel something Greek or gentile, because non-Jews were outside of God’s covenant with Israel, and, according to the Bible, the gentiles worshipped demons and not the one true God.  So we see that the gospel is neither religion nor philosophy, not man’s wisdom or knowledge, not of demons or angels.

If our fellowship with God the Father and His Son Yeshua and with other believers is based upon any of these things esteemed by the world, then this is what Paul calls “having confidence in the flesh”.  Yet Paul claims that to be a true Jew and a true Christian is just the opposite:  “to have no confidence in the flesh”, concerning which he writes that he had more to boast in than others.  Let’s look at his credentials from our passage and consider how they apply to our identity and hope as God’s children.

circumcised on the eighth day

of the race of Israel

of the tribe of Benjamin

a Hebrew of Hebrews

in regard to the Law, a Pharisee

 

as for zeal, persecuting the church

as for legalistic righteousness, blameless

Notice that all of Paul’s “confidence in the flesh” have to do with those things of natural birth, supposed keys to citizenship in God’s Kingdom either through no choice of their own, or either through confidence in choosing the right party.  Everything here takes pride in one’s self, status, giftings, intellect, or else in one’s “team”.

Paul learned that these outward endowments and benefits are not ultimately those which count for eternity, for God is no respecter of persons.  He is after people, like David, who have a heart for Him, whose relationship with Jesus is worth more than whatever else he or she thinks important, who live now with a vision of the everlasting Kingdom of God.  All that is of now, Paul counts as rubbish, and he looks for the glory to come, which is all of God.

Have we learned. . .are we learning. . . to reckon all that makes us feel proud to be but refuse compared to the matchless beauty of the meek and lowly Holy One of Israel?

Let’s close with Paul from v. 12-21 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but one thing:  forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   Let us therefore, as many as be perfect , be thus minded; and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.   Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.   Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk according to the pattern we gave you. . . . For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of the humiliation, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

LAWSUIT update – VERDICT update

Shalom Brothers and Sisters,

A verdict has been handed down by Judge Iddo Ruzin in our lawsuit filed against the Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim.  The judge did exactly what we have been praying and hoping . . . that he would not do!  Judge Ruzin has determined that the two defendants are innocent of any wrong-doing concerning the events before, during, and after 24 Dec 2005, and that we did not produce sufficient evidence to prove any personal liability on their part in our civil suit against them.
Judge Ruzin has ordered that we pay 1000 ILS to each of the defendants, graded percentages of our claims against them for violations of Israeli law, attorneys’ wages for their clients’ defense, and the five appearances in court for the trial, for a total of approximately 155,000 ILS ( ($40,200; 32,900 Euros; or GBP 27,800).  This miscarriage of justice is a sad commentary on the state of affairs, and should be seen, too, as a wake-up call to all who care for truth and righteousness.

We express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for your encouragements, prayers, praises to God, and financial contributions throughout this lawsuit to date.  We believe, with many of you, that we were led by the Lord to enter into this lawsuit, and we have sought to honor the name of Yeshua.  We believe that at least in this latter regard, we were successful:  even the judge in his decision referred to the Lord as “Yeshua”, and not by the acronym commonly used by many in this land.  We understood from the outset that there was a risk involved in taking these particular defendants to court for what we still know they are liable.

If we decide to file an appeal of this decision, we will do so only after consultation with other Messianic leaders from around Israel, just as we did before going to trial.

We always believed, and still believe and accept, that the verdict is from the Lord, and it is for us to discern what He is saying to us through it.

Glory to the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel.