Three New Years

I remember that before I was a believer, I wondered and asked the question:  Why do we have and remember New Year’s.  I was particularly thinking about the Jewish “New Year” which had become one of the High Holy Days in the synagogue.  The answer that I gave myself, and to my parents, was that there must be Someone who is keeping us (the Jewish people) alive for another year.  It gives an opportunity to thank Him, and to also hope that He would do the same for the next year.

Now, I have what, for me, is a broader and a more personal understanding of the significance of New Years.  YHVH God has given three opportunities to observe a New Year.  He is the God of Creation and of Redemption.  We are all born in the flesh; we  must be born of the Spirit to inherit eternal life.  We are individuals; Israel is a nation, whom God calls His first-born son.  These New Years — new beginnings —  are begun by God, and adopted by His people — whether Israeli Jews, or whether Christians.

YHVH told Israel that for them, the New Year would begin on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the month of Aviv/Nisan, the first full month of Spring of the Hebrew calendar for Israel.  This New Year focuses on the death of the Lamb of God, who died at the Passover, which is the 14th of that month (a Full Moon).  Israel does not perceive the resurrected sacrificial Lamb, but only the Passover sacrifice for deliverance from Egyptian slavery.  Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah is the Lamb of God who died for the sin and sins of every person, both in Israel and for all humanity for all time.  In His death, all died, for He is the representative Man in God’s ultimate plan of salvation, which He conceived before time began.  This first New Year of God’s redemptive calendar is the foundation of the gospel:  Messiah crucified, and risen from the dead on the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week.  By grace Israel was delivered out of Egyptian bondage; by grace all who believe are saved from sin’s bondage.

At some point in her history, Israel began to observe the civil New Year on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the seventh month (Tishri/Etanim) on her calendar in the Autumn/Fall.   This may seem strange, yet for Israel, each year they would be forgiven their sins, and God would dwell among them for the next year, which the Feast of Booths commemorates with joyful celebration, two full weeks after the beginning of the month, marked by the light of the Full Moon. And the Jubilee year is marked from the Day of Atonements, which falls on the 10th of the same month.  Jubilee is a new beginning for slaves, prisoners, debtors and creditors, and land possessions.  The Day of Atonements is the day of the LORD, in which those who accept YHVH God’s sacrifice for forgiveness of sins — both personal and corporate — are saved and justified; and those who refuse His sacrifice and way of righteousness are condemned for their unbelief and unthankfulness.  For an individual — and for Israel as a nation — this experience of being born-again through faith in God’s good news of His Son, truly marks a New Year of a new life in everlasting restored fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It marks new birth, which is needed since we all died with Messiah in His death on the cross.  This new beginning for Jews and for Gentiles upon whom the Lord bestows His mercy will be fully realized at the coming again of the Lord.

The time around the birth of this Son, this Lamb, who was born to die, and to live forevermore to provide for the full reality of the Kingdom of God over all, marks the celebration of the third New Year, and this for all who love Him for who He is and for what He has done, is doing, and will yet do.  God so loved the world that He gave His only unique Son so that whosoever believes in His name should not perish but inherit eternal life.  Yeshua was born near the end of the “world” calendar, in the first month of winter, Chislev/December, on both calendars (and the 9th month beginning with April/Aviv), and puts away the old that the new may come in.  His birth marked a new beginning of God’s intervention in Israel’s and the Gentiles’ affairs in order to take back to Himself all that had been lost by Adam and Eve and subsequent humanity, and deceitfully stolen by the devil to oppose the Sovereign God and His plan that human beings created in His image and likeness would be joint heirs with God’s Son of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day marks the covenant faithfulness to God’s promises given to Abram/Abraham that Israel and the people of God would one day worship Him without fear of any enemies.  We have all been God’s enemies, and the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Messiah takes away that enmity in us against Him, and we glorify Him, who is seated on the Throne!

So, to summarize:

All of the New Years have to do with Jesus Christ, and the celebration of Him by those who are God’s chosen and elect. They quicken an expectation of what God will do, based on what He has promised and has already done:

1.  Yeshua’s Death and Resurrection:  The Lamb of God was slain to redeem His people and set them free to serve YHVH God, and Him only.  He was slain before the foundation of the world, according to the perfect plan of God. And this Lamb rose from among the dead to everlasting life to enjoy the fruit of His suffering and sacrifice!  Israel’s calendar begins with YHVH God’s redeeming them from slavery that they may know and serve Him.

2.  Yeshua’s Coming Again:  All who are born-again through faith in the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus begin a new life unto God.  Israel as a nation still has this promise before them when Yeshua returns to save “all Israel”, the preserved remnant from all the tribes who will see Him whom they pierced, and afflict their souls for all their unfaithfulness and unfounded hatred toward Him and the Father. And the Body of Messiah has the hope of the Lord’s return and the resurrection of their bodies, to rule and reign with Him during His kingdom on Earth.

3.  Yeshua’s Birth:  His coming into the world in the flesh, born in order to be our Redeemer – to be the Lamb of God — who died to declare God’s Sovereign righteousness regarding sin, and His grace toward human sinners.  Peace on Earth, goodwill towards mankind!

These three New Years center around the birth, the death and resurrection, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the people of God, they mark natural birth, death, redemption by new birth through faith by the Holy Spirit, and the return of the Lord.  These three events are each memorialized with a ‘new song’: the song of Moses, the song of Mary, and the song of the 144,000 redeemed from the Earth.  They mark progressive time as the Sovereign Lord of history continues onward bringing to pass all that must be. Till now, the Holy Spirit is bringing all to pay homage to the Son, whether they realize it or not, and whether they rejoice in it or not in fellowship with other worshipers of God in spirit and truth!

War Against Terror Evil Helps Sharpen Reality – 2 Aug 2014

Ex 3:7-10  And the LORD (YHVH) said:  “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.  So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. . . Now, therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me. . . .

Ezek 20:33-36  As I live, says the Lord GOD (YHVH), surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.  Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you, says the Lord GOD (YHVH).

Is 53:3  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And He hid, as it were, His face from us; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Shabbat shalom,

Another broken cease-fire, which this time included the temporary capture of a mortally wounded Israeli soldier, whose status at this time is uncertain.  Fewer rockets fired at Beer Sheva, but we were wakened this morning at 6:00.  A brother in the Lord has been among the soldiers killed in this war. Shai Kushnir, who was part of the Tents of Mercy congregation, was among a group of soldiers killed by a mortar on Thursday.  His funeral was yesterday.

I don’t know how long, once the Israelis in Egypt began to feel that they were really slaves being worked to death by their taskmasters once the Pharoah who did not ‘know Joseph’ began to rule, that they began to moan and groan.  Until then, their lives weren’t really so bad, and they did not think to return to their homeland.  But the time came that they began to feel the pressure, and the suspicions, and the dislike of the Egyptian rulers towards them as Hebrews. Only then did they begin to cry out for deliverance, and at some point the crescendo reached God’s ears.  And He called to Moses in the desert that the time had come to act to bring His people out of Egypt and their enslavement, and to bring them into His land which He promised to their fathers to give to them. Things got worse, much worse, before they became better; but the deliverer and the deliverance were ‘activated’ and on the way.

Israel today is again being encountered by YHVH their God face-to-face in His controversy with Zion.  He will not allow them to fully become idolaters like the Gentiles that they so much emulate.  He WILL rule over them, and He will purge out the rebels as He does so.  The despite of the world towards Israel and her leaders is increasingly evident as leeway is given towards terrorists dedicated to Israel’s and the Christianized world’s destruction, and pressure is constantly put upon Israel and upon God-fearing Christians to yield ground/territory/principles and integrity in the name of ‘peace and social order’.

The ‘world’ is more prone to listen to the lies of the evil one, and to fall as prey to his schemes, than to give, at least, the benefit of the doubt to the information and explanations of those who are God’s instruments in this world — whether it is Israel in the continuous war against terror and terrorists, or whether it is Bible-believing disciples of Jesus who seek to maintain the salt of the covenants and the light of the truth of the gospel and of Messiah being Jesus in an increasingly antichristian (read, anti-YHVH God-and-His-Son) and ungodly, unholy world, which lies under the power of the evil one.  The ‘world’ is one thing, but allies and believers should be giving greater weight towards Israel for what is the ‘story behind the story’, and not to terrorists and their allies.  Don’t we as believers want unbelievers, and even other believers, to believe our side of things as it relates to ‘suffering and life’ in the world, and not listen to those who simply oppose any explanation given by Christians?  Here is a parody that shows the pressure of ‘group think’ against what we know to be true:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTezdMLJoyE

For those of you who love and support Israel and the Jewish people, make no mistake:  both rabbinic Judaism and Islam are against the truth of who the true God and Yeshua/Jesus/Yasu is.  The time will come that that lying and antichrist spirit will agree to direct their despite and hostility towards those who identify with Jesus, whether we are Jewish, Arab, or any other national and ethnic group.

This current outbreak of war in Gaza of Hamas against Israel has again brought to the surface all of the natural and partisan feelings by believers within the Body of Messiah here (and elsewhere).  There are plenty of words and analyses (including by yours truly) from all ‘parties’, and some of you may receive much of them.   God’s moralism is not like ours; nor does He force it upon anyone, but He will eventually require every one to acknowledge that His way and His thoughts alone are right, good, and holy — and His judgments are all righteous and true. There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel; but neither is there any moral equivalence between Israel’s own justification to fight against her enemies, and between God’s righteousness in bringing the Jewish people to submit to His case with them regarding Jesus.  And as long as we, as those justified through our faith in the resurrection of Jesus, are unable to express with one voice the sovereign wisdom and righteousness of God in times of severe crisis, then it can also be said of us in a practical way that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags when compared with God’s purity.

In Romans, Paul writes that we are saved by God’s mercy because we, even as believers, have all been disobedient to Him, in whatever degree or measure.  I pray and wonder whether believers in the Ukraine are seeking to express their unity in Christ, or are they mostly defining themselves by being either pro-Ukraine or pro-Russia?  What about Christians in Ireland?  Whatever those cases are, there is the unique element in the battle for minds and hearts in Israel and the Middle East because of the COVENANT of God with Israel among the children in the flesh of Abraham, that is not so with any other nation or people (in the flesh) on the Earth.

If wanting to re-vote in the UN to eradicate Israel as a legal nation-state, which was intended and determined through post-WW1 decisions by the victorious powers, then all the Arab states established through those same victors’ decisions and agreements also need to be nullified.  This is what the Islamic caliphate aims to do as it seeks to restore the Muslim empire, at least over the entire Middle East, if not throughout the world. Hamas, with its underground evil empire war factory, reminds me of the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, as they, empowered by evil, planned their war to the death and destruction of all that represents what is good.  Satan works in the dark; Jesus is Light, and in the light.

There is plenty of impurity and uncleanness still in us, and we must find a way here for the Jewish and Arab believers to overcome our natural tendencies, and demonstrate and proclaim our unity in Christ/Messiah; to put all of our words and thoughts at the cross, and let the Lord do His will and have His way.  We have to trust Him, be willing scapegoats with Him, be called bad names with Jesus, be despised and rejected with Him.  Without the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit, we surely will not be capable of doing so in true and spiritual worship.

This Tuesday is the ninth of Av, a day of historic tragedy in the Jewish people’s annals.  We, as believers in Yeshua, are not mourning the destruction of the Temple, which was destroyed because of Israel’s sin.  We should focus, maybe, on the sins within the Body of Christ, the living corporate Temple of God, which are weakening our own witness and testimony to the world for the gospel, and of the holiness and righteousness of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are having a prayer and fast day in Beer Sheva at the Bible House.

Our challenge in living in tension:  love the brethren; love our enemies (we do pray for the salvation of even terrorists); bless those who curse us; pray for those  who  persecute us; but the natural nation of Israel, or any other country and government, is not born-again to be living by such supernaturallly, Holy Spirit enpowered standards of God’s sons and daughters in Messiah.   To expect that of them is both hypocritical and unrealistic.

Is God hearing the voice of the Bride for her Bridegroom?

Shalom from a very dry Negev (which means ‘dry land’).

8 Feb 2009

Shalom from a very dry Negev (which means ‘dry land’).

Despite the extremely dry weather for winter — the driest on record — the flu has been going around. It got to me, so I was laid up in bed for a few days a couple of weeks ago. I also have what must be a pinched nerve in my neck for about a 1/2 year now. For the last couple of months, I’ve been getting some physical therapy, but it hasn’t really released the pinch. I did it to myself while doing some exercises (at the loving concern of my family). Hoping it would go away by itself, I didn’t do anything about it for a couple of months, before going finally for an x-ray. It took more than another month to start some treatment. Anyway, the body ages, while the inner man is renewed day-by-day! Praise the Lord!

The last-days weather patterns are certainly less predictable than just a few years ago. God’s covenant blessings of the right amount of rain at the right times were based on Israel’s obedience with faith in Him. Since this is still not the case, and since the times are nearing for God’s interventions in righteous judgments, then the lack of ‘good’ rain is a means by which He would want His people to repent and return to Him. (Dt 28:12, 23-24) Yet God has promised since the Flood that as long as this Earth remains, there would still be the four seasons (Gen 8:22). And He has further promised that as long as He is in control of our unique solar system within His universe, and that the size of the universe can not be determined, Israel would remain a nation before Him, and His covenants with David and with the Levites would not be broken (Jer 31:33-37; 33:19-26). So we can be assured that Yeshua is going to return at the appointed time to regenerate this Creation and make the Earth a very habitable place during His reign! (Ps 96; Mt 24:32-39; Rom 8:18-25)

Elections
Israel once again goes to national elections for Prime Minister and for Knesset (Parliament) seats. Once again, the elections are critical. It seems that every election here is a ‘fateful’ one. The security of the nation and its integrity is once again the major issue. The economy, which is also adversely affected along with the rest of the world’s countries, has not been discussed very much publicly, yet obviously will have a major impact on our lives. Two of the major candidates, Bibi Netanyahu (Likud) and Ehud Barak (Labor), have been PM before, and each had a major negative impact on the nation. Tzipi Livni, currently Foreign Minister, has risen to prominence through her earlier connection with Ariel Sharon and the formation of the new political party, Kadima. That party was formed out from the more right-wing party Likud, and with a platform to divide the country into two. A fourth major candidate this time is Avigdor Liberman (Israel Beiteinu – Israel Our Home) is running on a platform which essentially requires citizens to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel if they want to partake of its privileges. The Likud and all of the nationalist parties promote with worldly reason the necessity of Israel being a Jewish and ‘democratic’ country.

This sounds reasonable, but has been and will be used against Jews and Christians in other countries. When a Jew is required to pledge more loyalty to his ‘home’ country over Israel, what will he answer? (Ps 137:1-6) When a Christian is required to pledge more allegiance to his ‘home’ country over the Kingdom of God, what will you answer? (Acts 17:7; Jn 18:36; Ps 2; Rev 11:15-18) Will believers in Jesus also be required in Israel to pledge greater allegiance to a Jewish state — that is, a state where Judaism is the supreme religion — over the truth of Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of God, which Judaism rejects? Are we prepared for such a time as that?

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

(Updated 18 May 2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Netzer – נצר

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

R’S DEDICATION – 7 Mar 1987

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T’S DEDICATION – 14 Sept 1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!