ISRAELIS BECOMING MORE RELIGIOUS – 13 Sept 2010

Greetings in the goodness of our God.

It is still summer, and not only is Israel still not saved, but the summer-time-clock has ended, and we are back on standard time.  With all the different time zones and arbitrary time changes, Yeshua knew what He was saying when He said that we can not know the day and hour of His coming!  Praise God that He knows how to keep His own time!!

An interesting survey taken by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics was published today in the Israeli newspapers, which shows that more Israelis are becoming more religious.  Less than half the population – 42% –  (according to survey statistical measurements ) consider themselves secular.  Most of those surveyed say that they have become “more religious” than they had been before.  The survey broke down the Jewish people into 5 categories:  ultra-orthodox; religious; traditional-religious; traditional, but not religious; secular.

Just yesterday, I was speaking with a new believer about how there is religious revival all around the world in all the religions.  Acts 17:26-31  “And [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own [Greek] poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from among the dead!”

True and full repentance and revival comes when people come back to the living God Himself, and this is only through His Son, the Lord Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ.  There are many ways to come to Jesus; but there is only one way to come to the Father.

The verses quoted above gave me another way of thinking what it means to take the gospel “to the Jew first, and then to the Greeks” (which is the actual Holy Spirit inspired word in the text, not ‘Gentiles’), or that the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first, and also of the Greeks”.  Not everyone necessarily meets or knows or has an opportunity to witness to an actual Jewish person, or to a Greek.  But everyone — and every believer — does know in their own cultures those who are “religious”, and who think that they are more righteous than those who are not; and also those who “philosophize” and “politicize”, who consider the creation and possibility of “gods” or “a god”, but have no “Rock” to stand on.  (I am speaking very generally here.)  It seems that those to whom the gospel first goes are to these “religious, whose righteousness is of law”, and to those who think on “eternal” things, but do not have a rudder to keep them on a steady and clear course.  These “Jews” and “Greeks” have a sense of a “Judge”, a concern for accountable government,  and a hope to attain the world to come by their “good works” and traditions, and by their “good ideas, worldly wisdom, and politics”.  Each in some measure have a fear of God, even if He is unknown to them personally, but hope that should He actually exist, that He would find favor with them.

But even the actual Jewish people have to repent and be born-again through saving faith in Yeshua; even Cornelius — a God-fearing [Roman] military man —  had to learn the way of salvation through the God of Israel’s Messiah for the Jews, and also for the “good person”; and Paul felt the unction to reveal the true and personal God to the Greeks who only knew of Him as a rumor.  And the issue has to do with Jesus coming again to judge the world in righteousness!  Hallelu-Yah, say all the saints! 

Turning to religion is a step in the right direction for some people, and a falling away for others.  The religious spirit is opposed to the liberty which comes to those whose faith is anchored in the truth of the gospel.  The gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek; it is neither religious nor political nor military; it is neither right nor left.  May we see many more of the Jews and of the Greeks, and also of those “who were not initially invited”, come into the Father’s house!

This week, the Jewish people are preparing for the holiest day of the year in Judaism — the Day of Atonements.  In the survey, most of the Israelis, including the secular, go to the synagogue on that day, if they ever go at all.  My family did the same as we grew up in Conservative Judaism in the U.S.  Let us pray for their eyes to be opened, and their hearts to be stirred.  In the wonderful sovereignty of God and the authority which Yeshua has over His own countrymen, the Book of Jonah is read in the synagogues on Yom Ha-Kippurim (The Day of Atonements)!  Yeshua said that Jonah — a prophet from the Galilee —  is the only sign He would give them to prove who He is!  Our Lord and God reigns, even in Israel!

God bless you all, and praise Him that our names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven!

Yom HaKippurim – Day of Atonements – 18 Sept 2004

Day of Atonements and Understanding the Centrality of Our Faith

For us who believe in Jesus and the New Covenant, understanding the Messianic roots through the Old Testament given to Israel helps us to see some of the details that are supplied to grasp more fully the fulfillment which is in Jesus and His sacrificial atoning death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.

Simply stated, the King of Glory (Ps 24) – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Gen 49:8-12; Rev 5:4-7), the Ram whom God supplied as a burnt offering (Gen 22:9-19), the Lamb slain who sits on the Throne (Rev 5) – humbled Himself by clothing (identifying) Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh – as a Goat! (Lev 16; Rom 8:3-4; Mt 25:31-46) – and willingly 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 with the Holy Father – indeed, that God may live with and in us.

Lev 16: 29-34; Heb 10: 11-23 N.T. in Messiah our everlasting reality of annual Day of Atonements

Lev 23: 28-30; Rom 11: 25-27 anyone not appropriating the God-provided sacrifice personally, and so  afflicting his own, is cut off from the people corporately.  Jesus died for the whole world, but especially for those who believe.  All Israel are those who, when they see Him whom they pierced, accept the covenant blood sacrifice.

Lev 16: 5-10; Jn 10: 17-18; 11: 49-50 Living scapegoat bearing all the iniquities, transgressions, sins of Israel, and Israel being atoned for on the basis of the accepted blood sacrifice of the first goat unto the LORD; two goats. . .one sin offering; atonement (reconciliation) and the effectual removal of guilt and uncleanness from the camp on the innocent goat — made sin for us – sent alive into the desert as a witness and testimony of the accepted sacrifice by God of the first goat slain.

We are to be with Jesus, outside the camp, willing to bear with Him His reproach, which falls on us who believe in Him.  He is worthy! (Heb 13:12-14)

The Wall of Separation He’s Broken Down

Lev. 10:3 By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy, and before all the people I must be honored.

Eph 2:11-12 As we continue to let the Tabernacle in the Desert instruct us of God’s pattern for us to approach Him in prayer, the passage from Ephesians notes “the middle wall of separation”, which separated Israel from the other nations.  God in His wisdom separated the people He had chosen and called to Himself from the surrounding heathen peoples of the world in which they lived.  In spiritual reality, the gentiles then were without Messiah, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Israel/the Jewish people are in a similar spiritual condition as the gentiles then, but there is a difference:  Israel is still the nation chosen by God, even if there is a willful collective amnesia regarding that and its significance.

But we remember (Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets) that YHVH spoke the gospel to Abraham when He promised him that, through him, ALL the families of the Earth would be blessed (Gen 12:3).

v. 13-15   But NOW in Messiah Jesus, those who were once far off – spiritually and physically – have been brought near by the blood of  Messiah.  He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, having broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His FLESH the enmity, the law of commandments in ordinances, so as to create in Him ONE NEW MAN from the two, making peace.

NOW, both Jews and all other peoples have access into the court of God’s people, since Jesus died for ALL, and God’s salvation through the forgiveness of sins is offered to ALL (Day of Atonements).

v. 16-17 Jesus came to die that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross (the altar), thereby putting to death the enmity.  Jesus came and preached peace both to those far and near.

How can born-again redeemed Jews be hostile towards the gentiles when once we realize and appreciate that Messiah, the Son of God, died for my and our sins!     How can the gentile Christians remain hostile to Israel and the Jewish people when once they realize and appreciate that, in God’s sovereignty and grace, Israel’s promised Messiah has been shown to be the Savior of the whole world, and given gentiles access to the true living God!

v. 18-19 Through Jesus we both have access by one Spirit to the Father – both in our relationship as sons and daughters, and also in our prayers.  Both Jewish and gentile believers are fellow citizens of God’s Kingdom and members of His family, His household.  All persons, whether or not believers, have been redeemed to God by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this speaks to the reality of the broken down wall of separation.

As we have noted before,  entry into the Holy of Holies –representing symbolically the spiritual reality of Heaven, God’s dwelling place – brings us to God the Father, which Jesus opened up for all believers through the veil, that is, His flesh – firstly by His birth, but foremost by His death on the cross.

v. 20-22 We are being built together as a holy temple in the Lord for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Inwardly, this speaks of the cross and the crucified life being grasped hold of in the life of the born-again believer, in the power of the resurrection, of an endless life unto God, who has cut for us each the New Covenant by forgiving us our sins.  In these things there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, free nor slave, rich nor poor, but rather a new creation.

1Cor 10:17 one bread; one body; priestly intercession for all the Body of Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile

Lev 23:17 two loaves; with leaven.   Shavuot (Weeks) looks ahead to the day when the middle wall of separation and the enmity between God and man, and between Israel and the nations, was broken down by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s Spirit being given to all who believe on Him.

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)