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.

The Joy of Fellowship in the Truth of God’s Love – 1 Oct 2004

1Pet 1:3-9 we rejoice greatly in Him whom we love for saving our souls

On the Day of Atonements last Shabbat, the Jewish believers amongst us then did a very significant thing (Neh 9:2):  we accepted and confessed our sin and rebellion against YHVH our God (Lev 26:40) and against His Son, the Messiah Jesus (Mt 27:25).

As priests of God in Christ – and as sons of our fathers, whether in the time of Moses or whether in the days of Yeshua – we have a responsibility to accept our personal and collective guilt for our iniquity, transgressions, and sins against God and against our fellow man (Lev 16:11,15,17,21).  We are connected to our people both in promises and in judgment, according to God’s covenants with us.  God has an historic plan of redemption throughout the generations and history of man to bring about His purposes to live with all those who love His Son, Jesus Christ, and know Him as Savior and Lord.

All of the appointed times of YHVH – Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, Succot – remind Jews (and Christians) that the Creator redeemed and delivered His people Israel from bondage in Egypt (Dt 16:6,12; Lev 23:43).  They are also based upon sacrifices of blood, the blood of covenant with God and His people.

As I have mentioned times before, the Passover was a sacrifice and a deliverance by grace and power, apart from the reckoning of sin.  But it did require faith and obedience on the part of the Israelis in Egypt to put the blood of the slaughtered lambs upon their door posts and remain inside their homes.  From Shavuot, with the giving of the Law, the people became aware of the holiness and righteousness of the great God and Savior who had saved them and promised to give them the land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and to their descendants.  The people of Israel “became” sinners, who had to offer all kinds of sacrifices in acknowledgement of his or her sin and guilt and defilement.  The Day of Atonements was the national day of corporate cleansing by the Holy God through the sacrifice of the goat to YHVH and the sending away to live in the wilderness the other goat to Azazel, laden with all the sins of the children of Israel.  This, too, is all of grace, but requiring the personal application of the Israeli to him-/herself, lest he/she disqualify himself from inclusion as a member of the family of God.

Now we come to the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated with great rejoicing (Dt 16:13-15), because not only is the final harvest of fruit gathered, but God Himself will dwell in the midst of His people! (Ezek 37:21-28; Lev 26:11-13).  The sacrifice has been accepted, and the people rejoicing in the goodness and love of the Lord!

For us now as believers in Jesus, we have a better sacrifice and already enjoy the pledge of the fullness of God’s presence with us.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and there is great joy in the love of the Father when we live with thanksgiving by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross when He died for our sins.  There is great joy to know God’s power working on our behalf, and of His righteous ways.  The blood of the Son of God cleanses our conscience, which all the blood of animals could not and will not accomplish.

The booth (succa) reminds us of our temporary life here, both in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, and in our actual lives as we anticipate the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection.  Through it all, God keeps us and provides for us as we look up at His wondrous creation and consider the ultimate expression of love in giving us His Son for the propitiation of our sins.  The Kingdom of God is presently within us, yet there is joy.  How much more so when the Lord Yeshua returns to bring the Kingdom to Earth, and with it righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!  All the nations which survive along with the remnant of Israel will be blessed by the presence of the Lord in their midst.  And to demonstrate this – and their understanding that this is all of the one true God – all the nations will come up to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King, YHVH of Hosts!

As we celebrate today Succot, we also celebrate with the Lord’s Supper, which is a prophetic reminder that the Lamb who was slain, and for doing so has received all power and authority and blessing and honor and a Name above every name. . . this same Yeshua who ascended up into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father will Himself return to establish God’s Kingdom in Israel and over the whole Earth and universe!

Come, Lord Jesus!