FOR SO THEY DID UNTO THE PROPHETS BEFORE US

Feb 2011

Published in Messianic Times June/July 2011 Issue 

Persecution of believers in Yeshua as Lord and Messiah, the Son of God, is not a new thing in Israel.  Rather, it is a phenomenon that has returned to Israel, for opposition to the gospel and persecution against those who believe the good news began in Israel already from the days since Yeshua was born.  (Mt 2)  Following this attempt to destroy the messianic hope in Israel at its inception, it surfaced again during the days of Yeshua’s ministry, threatening to excommunicate from the Jewish community (the synagogue) all those who would follow the Lamb of God. (Jn 9:22)  This persecution of the saints continued after the Holy Spirit was given to the first church. (Acts 4:17; 7:51-60)

As Stephen agreed with the words of Yeshua in that this opposition and irrational hatred began long before against the Holy Spirit, yet Stephen’s words as he was being stoned to death also demonstrate the power and the love of God within those who are so badly treated:  “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

Throughout the last four decades, attempts by Jewish believers in Yeshua have failed to convince the “guardians of the religious identity of Israel” that one can believe in Yeshua, the Son of David, Son of Abraham, and still remain a Jew.  Jewishness has become defined as accepting historical rabbinic Judaism as the essence of what makes one ‘Jewish’.  Several court cases have been fought at the Supreme Court level, and never yet has a Jewish person (born of a Jewish mother) won a case for identity as it relates to Israel’s Law of Return for Jewish people to immigrate to Israel and receive entitlements as a Jew.

More recently, a case has been adjudicated by an Israeli Jewish believer, Penina Conforti, seeking a kosher certificate for operating a food business in Ashdod.  Although initially won at the Supreme Court level, the rabbinic authorities vehemently protested, saying that the issue is a religious matter and not one to be decided by civil authorities.  The Supreme Court then refused to grant the license unless the believer complied with regulations set by the rabbis.  This is fair enough, but the requirements placed on this believer in Yeshua to operate her bakery were more stringent than those applied elsewhere, thus not making one law for all.

Another recent case involved Nachalat Yeshua Messianic congregation in Beer Sheva, which sought a measure of legal justice in a civil court against the Chief Rabbi of their city, and against the national antimessianic organization, Yad L’Achim, which has set itself up as a vigilante protector of Jewishness.  The two defendants were involved in organizing a demonstration against the congregation – the second time such a large-scale protest had taken place against this group of believers by these same two parties.  The illegal demonstration of about 600 religious Jews resulted in a riot and aggravated trespass against the privately owned Christian property and against the believers there who had gathered for their regular worship service.  The civil court and secular judge ruled against the believers, stating that the two defendants acted responsibly to exercise their right and responsibility to protect Jewish souls (pikuach nefesh), and that neither was responsible for any of the illegal acts that occurred.  The congregation was ordered to pay the defendants a heavy penalty for having brought them to court.

There is still, at this time, the criminal case pending from an attempted murder in 2008 of a family of believers in Ariel.  Their teenage son, Ami, was very seriously injured from a bomb placed in what had looked like a Purim gift package left at their front door.  As of this writing, the courts have not determined whether the “Jewish terrorist”, as he has been described by the Israeli media, is mentally fit to stand trial and be held responsible for his crimes, despite his own admission of carrying out the murder attempt, plus other murders of two Palestinians that he did accomplish over the previous 12 years.  He claims that “God is pleased with what I have done”, as he acts out of his own worldview of what a Jewish Zionist state should be.  (Jn 16:2-4)  Democracy, in its normal understanding, is not a part of that vision, and neither are Palestinians or faith in Yeshua.

In Arad, the community of believers there have undergone seven years of constant harassment and trouble, with the help of the police and the mayors during those years.  Despite many totally false or exaggerated claims against the believers, the authorities continue to allow the sect of religious Jews, again assisted by Yad L’Achim, to persecute the believers in Yeshua.  (It is important to remember that scripturally, persecution begins with prejudiced antagonism against those who trust in the one true God.)

In nearly every case, media coverage of the Messianic faith and community is always mixed in the presentation of facts, and not necessarily representative of most of the Body of Messiah.  This need not be too surprising, since most of these journalists and reporters are not interested in making the faith in Yeshua attractive for Jewish people to seriously consider.

These are just a few samples of many instances to hinder the freedom of believers in Yeshua in Israel, along with many others denying or restricting visas to evangelical volunteers; turning back certain black-listed Jewish believers from entering the country; vandalizing property of believers and churches, even to the extent of burning and destroying; refusing to rent apartments to certain believers or to hire them for jobs.

A few points to keep in mind with respect to Jewish opposition to Yeshua and those who love Him:

1.  “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for [the Gentiles] sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). (Rom 11:28)  This remains true, and Israel demonstrates this in many ways, and, thankfully, so does God.

2.  Some of the persecution against the believers is done by God-fearing Jews (such as Saul/Paul was), and whether consciously or not, they are acting in accord with Dt 13, which speaks of how to treat  those who would lead Israelis away from YHVH God.  Since Yeshua was accused and crucified on the false charges that He was a false prophet and a blasphemer, then any of us who believe in and follow Him are worthy of condemnation as well, in their understanding.  It is a case of calling good evil; holy profane; the truth a lie.

3.  Denying a kashrut certificate to a believer is similar to forbidding a Gentile from coming into contact    with grapes once they are in the process of being made into wine.  This Talmudic/Rabbinic law would be based on Hag 2:13-14, which, in their determination is also applied to any Gentile or to an apostate from Judaism:  any [food] handled would be unclean and not considered acceptable (kosher).

4.  The two legislative restrictions regarding evangelism are reasonable:  no targeting of persons under the age of 18 (I would not want my own children targeted by what I perceived to be a false religion orcult.); no offering of material benefits for listening to or accepting the gospel message.  The efforts by extremists to forbid all forms of evangelism through legislation would be bad law, especially in what is supposed to be a democratic society.

5.  The Scriptures seem to clearly indicate that persecution will increase as the Day of the LORD nears. (Mt 24:9-14)

There is not one ‘opinion’ among the believers in Israel as to how best to react and respond to varying levels of persecution.  Each situation presents its own need to seek God’s will, for it is the honor of the name of Yeshua that is truly at stake. (Mt 5:11)  Yeshua is a  “sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel”, and is still “destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against.”  (Is 8:14; Lk 2:34)

But an attack on one part of the body is an attack on all.  How are we as members of that one body to respond to the suffering of another?  When is action (Acts 24:10-21; 25:9-12) called for, and when is it only a matter of praise and prayer for the faith and boldness to continue in the face of all of the risks and threats? (Acts 4:17-31)  Peter also warns us not to “suffer as a . . .meddler in other people’s matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God!” (1Pt 4:15-17)

Many still do not know what they are doing, and the heart of the Father continually cries out through us:  “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom 10:1-2)

TIMELINE: Conception and Birth of John the Baptiser and Jesus the Messiah

Conception and Birth of John the Baptiser and Jesus the Messiah     Rev. Nov 6, 2013; Jan 7, 2014; Nov 2014; Nov 2015, Aug 29, 2017

John the Baptiser (Immerser):  Type of the Christian/Messianic [Believer]
–Forerunner of the Lord Messiah for the first advent
–the believing Christian and the two witnesses preparing and heralding the way for the second coming
–prophet in spirit and power of Elijah

–Not the Light, but bearing witness to the Light:  people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light

–Proclaiming Yeshua as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
–Filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb
–No one born of woman greater than John, yet anyone born into the Kingdom of Heaven greater than John
–Gabriel’s angelic announcement to Zechariah, John’s father, on the Memorial of the Blowing of Trumpets (1st day of 7th lunar month of redemption, and a New Moon) — trumpeting the herald!
— with conception following, possibly during the Days of Awe leading up to the Day of Atonements.

–Priestly family
–Zechariah’s name means “YAH’s remembrance”
–Elisheva (Elizabeth), John’s mother, means “God of oath”
–Yochanan (John) means “YEHOVAH is gracious”

–The set (appointed) time of the Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets (now referred to as the Jewish civil New Year) is a day to remind God of His covenant and of His promises and oaths; to be reminded ourselves of the same and to repent of our waywardness, turning back to the Lord and to His Word; to proclaim the way of salvation and to exhort one another to humble ourselves and to exalt the gracious Creator and Redeemer, our Father in Heaven and Lord Jesus Christ
–a herald of God’s faithfulness and holiness
–precedes the Day of Atonements, on which Israel’s iniquity, sins, and transgressions were atoned for and cast away:  Yeshua/Jesus, the perfect sinless Lamb, becoming like unto us goats (sinful flesh) and becoming sin for us

–John’s birth at Shavuot (Feast of Weeks; wheat harvest)
–in the 3rd redemptive month, and the time of the giving of God’s law on stone tablets and of the Holy Spirit putting God’s law in our minds and hearts [of flesh]
–The Law and the Prophets were until John, but now the Kingdom of God is preached.
–I must decrease; He (Yeshua) must increase.
–typifying the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ, which bears witness to Messiah Jesus being our Passover Lamb, our Savior and Lord
–the born-again Christian filled with the Spirit of God from new birth
–prophetic ministry:  repentance unto the LORD God our Father and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ
–priestly ministry :  grace and mercy and compassion according to God’s Name
–kingly ministry:  self-control; authority in Yeshua’s name; royal priesthood in Messiah
–six months before the birth of Yeshua, meaning Savior:  “He will save His people from their sins”

–Yeshua/Jesus born during 9th Hebrew month
–A Great Miracle Happened Here!  A  mighty act of God to celebrate!
–the evening of the 24th / the morning of the 25th of the 9th month is the beginning of the 8 days of Hanukah, commemorating the rededication of the Temple altar–the acceptable approach to  God:  Jesus restores the eternal way and is greater than Temple, and He overturns Gentile kingdoms (Hag 2:18-23)
–His circumcision would have been on the last day of the Feast of Dedication (the 3rd day of the 10th month); [The 24th/25th of the 9th Hebrew lunar month in some years coincides with the 24th/25th of the 12th solar month, December, with the last and eighth day of Hanukah then coinciding with Dec 31/Jan 1, the new solar year.  The Jewish lunar calendar is adjusted for synchronization with the solar:  the sun—the greater light–rules.]
–winter, typically dark and cold; (Could not the God of nature not have caused, if needed  a pleasant, early winter night to go out to?!)  Jesus came into the darkness to defeat the powers of darkness, beginning the repossession of the Earth  and of all the nations back to Himself from Satan and those other divine beings who oppose the sovereignty of  YHVH!
–the Light (Festival of Lights) shines into darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it
–from the beginning of winter the daylight begins to increase, “pushing back the darkness”

Yeshua was possibly conceived at the beginning of the Hebrew calendar year (1st of Aviv/Nisan, a New Moon in April), and born near the end of the  Western calendar year (12th month of December).  The first day of the Hebrew calendar is 14 days after Purim, and 14 days prior to the Passover.   Conception by the Holy Spirit as God acts on behalf of His covenant people Israel, in Spring, when kings go out to war.  He was conceived during the turn of the first season of the ‘Christian’ year, Winter/Spring, and was born at the turn of the last season, Fall/Winter.  Between these two events, book-marked by Purim and Hanukkah – two Jewish holidays established by the people celebrating God’s faithful covenantal interventions and mighty acts on their behalf – is the redemptive calendar established by YHVH to Israel from Passover through the Day of Atonements up till the Feast of Booths, and celebrated by the Church at the Lord’s Supper:  remembering His death until He comes.  This timeline shows a harmony between the Jewish and Western Christian calendars, between the lunar-solar and the solar calendars which bear witness to HIStory.

Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah/Christ:  Fulfilling the Word of God and His Set Times (either providentially, or as revealed)

Purim (not an expressly revealed set time, but providentially set by God and acknowledged by His people)
–the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary that she would have a son named Yeshua
–celebrated on the 14th day of the 12th and last Hebrew month (Adar; corresponding to March), thus during a full moon
–“help for deliverance from another place”
–spiritual enmity and warfare:  Seed of the woman vs. the seed of the serpent

Hanukkah (but greater) (not an expressly revealed holiday, but providentially set by God and acknowledged by His people), to restore true worship from the paganism that had come in
–In the Second Book of Maccabees (written approximately 80 BC) we are told that “on the very same date on which the Temple was profaned by foreigners, there occurred the purification of the Temple – on the 25th day of the ninth month (that is, Kislev, which generally corresponds to the month of December, the 9th month of Israel’s year’s start usually in April). Joyfully they held an eight-day celebration after the pattern of Tabernacles … remembering how a short time before, they spent the Festival of Tabernacles like beasts… Therefore, holding wreathed wands and branches bearing ripe fruit, and palm fronds, they offered songs of praise to Him Who had victoriously brought about the purification of His Place. By vote of the commonwealth they decreed a rule for the entire nation of the Jews to observe these days annually” (2 Maccabees 10:5-8 Apocrypha))

The same writer states at the opening of 2 Maccabees, “And now we ask you to celebrate the Days of Tabernacles in the Month of Kislev” (2 Maccabees 1:9).

For those believers who say that Yeshua was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, because He “tabernacled” among us, once again we see how God has gone before us:  “There is no wisdom, or understanding, or counsel against YHVH!” (Pr 21:30)

–see Haggai 2, with its several references to the 24th day of the 9th month, Chislev  (Hag 2:10,15,18-22; Lk 2:10-11; 1:46-55 )
The Lord also speaks through Haggai about what He will do from this day and forward:
He will lay the foundation of the temple:  Yeshua is the true Temple (His person and body); He is the Cornerstone, the Stone that the builders rejected. (Hag 2:18; Ps 118:22-23; Eph 2:20-22; Is 28:16; Mt 16:18; 21:42-44; Lk 20:17-18; 1Pt 2:4-8; 1Cor 3:11)
He will blessGlad tidings of great joythis day in the city of David is born Messiah the Lord!  Glory to God in the Highest!  Peace on Earth and good will towards all mankind!; This is the acceptable year of YHVH; Today, is the day of salvation.
He will shake Heaven and Earth:  the heavenly host of angels praise God at the Earth-shaking news that the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the King of kings was entering the world in such a manner to take it back for Himself, overturning the kingdoms of this  world, and the works of the devil! (Gen 3:15; Is 9:6-7; Mt 2:2; Lk 1:30-33,52; 2:9-14; Mic 5:2; Jn 8 – 10; Dan 2:36-45; 7:14; Acts 17:6-7; Rev 12:1-5; Heb 12:25-27 second coming)
Zerubbabel would be His signet ring:  Zerubbabel appears in both lists of Yeshua’s genealogy (Mt 1; Lk 3), descended from David.

   —Birth and Circumcision on the first and the eighth day of Hanukkah
–10 lunar months / 9 solar months after Purim
–on Friday afternoon:  the second and last Adam, leading into the Sabbath eve, as the first and last day/night of the Feast
         –SabbathGod’s rest and refreshment found in His Son.
— The Shabbat/Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, bringing to completion, fulfillment of the ‘old’, that God can bring in the new.
–in winter; at a time not expected; 24th/25th of ninth Israeli month (Chislev; corresponding to December), coinciding [at times] with 24th/25th of December
–-A [truly] Great Miracle Happened Here!; The Heavens declare the glory of God, and nature speaks!:  a warmer than usual early winter night (?)
–Israel was commanded to celebrate in holidays YHVH their God and His mighty acts for their life and redemption. (Dt 16:1-17)
–Believers in Israel free-willingly celebrated and rejoiced from generation to generation His greatness and mighty acts and works. (Ps 145:4-13; 150:2)
–Surely the Body of Messiah would have even more reason to free-willingly offer to our great God and Savior family and corporate celebrations of His coming to personally bring redemption and salvation by the greatest mighty act in human history (not to diminish the crucifixion and the resurrection)! (Phlp 4:8)
–the Light of, and in, the world; the true Deliverer and Savior; the God of gods was reclaiming all that was rightfully His!

Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and the 40th day of counting the sheaves
   —Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension
nature speaks:  a colder than usual spring night of betrayal and the powers of darkness (Jn 18:18)

–from the 14th day of the 1st of the months (Aviv/Nisan; corresponding to April) to Israel through to near the end of the 2nd lunar month of redemption; begins at a Full Moon

–Passover <Exodus <Coming up from crossing of Red Sea:  Thursday<Friday <Day after the Sabbath–the first day of the new week

–Jubilee:  restored liberty and inheritance:  joy in YHVH

Shavuot/ Pentecost

–in the 3rd Hebrew lunar month of redemption (Sivan; corresponding to June) (on the 50th day of counting the sheaves from the day after the first real Sabbath during the Passover week, counting seven full Sabbaths from that day of Firstfruits/Resurrection; thus always set to occur on the 1st day of the week) Lev 23:15-17

God the Father’s promise of the Holy Spirit

–John the Baptiser born:  filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb

INGATHERING:  The Good Shepherd regathering the lost sheep of the House of Israel and of the other nations
Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets
    –the set time on the 1st day of the 7th lunar month (Etanim/Tishrei; corresponding to October) of redemption; a New Moon
–John’s conception:  herald of Messiah; God is gracious to remember His covenant promises and oaths to Abraham and to David
–John’s “Elijah ministry” preparing for and preceding the Messiah’s revelation to Israel
–“Repent!  Prepare ye the way of YHVH.”:  prophetic righteousness for the remission of sins
           –“Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”:  priestly grace
–the first resurrection at the last trumpet, following great tribulation but before God’s wrath poured out

Day of Atonements
    –set for the 10th day of the 7th Hebrew month
propitiary sin offering by (of) Jesus as a Man and High Priest unto the LORD God His Father
–scapegoat offering of Jesus bearing away upon Himself the reproach of our guilt and shame (Lev 16)
    —Jubilee:  [new] year of release proclaimed by Yeshua and secured through His redemptive death and resurrection
–The Day of YHVH
–Jubilee trumpet blown (possibly the ‘last trumpet’)

Feast of Booths (Tabernacles)
–the seventh Feast of the LORD, celebrated from the 15th – 22nd days of the 7th month of redemption
YHVH God with His people — Immanuel — on the basis of the finished work of atonement; Jesus establishing His Kingdom on the Earth after His return in great power and great glory; the Sabbath rest for the people of God
–the fruit harvest
–Jesus’ baptism (at about 30 years of age):  the fullness of God’s satisfaction  in Man, as the dove rested on His Son
–water pouring ceremony at Pool of Siloam
–transfiguration:  glorification — the fullness of God’s presence in Man
–God the Father’s testimony of His Son, through and in Whom are His people:  “This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased (have found delight)”:  Immanuel
–each child of God, and the Body of Christ corporately, is the Temple of God in the Spirit, God’s dwelling place
–Yeshua led into the wilderness by the Spirit in order to be tempted and proved:  40 days in the wilderness/desert correspond to Israel’s  40 years in the wilderness after the redemption and deliverance from Egypt at Passover, which is commemorated during Succot (Feast of Booths):  we remember His death until He comes.  Yeshua succeeds where Adam and Israel failed!  Praise to our only wise God and Savior!

I did a quick count-down and count-up and came to this: Jesus died in 30 AD (which is 40 years before the Temple’s destruction; see corroborating evidence from a hostile third party, the Talmud, an unsympathetic source: http://www.windowview.org/hmny/pgs/talmuds.30ce.html). It is widely accepted that Messiah/Christ was 33 1/2 yrs old at His death. Having begun His 3 1/2 yr public ministry when He was about 30 years old, then He was born on the 24th of Chislev, 5 BC, by my reckoning, being necessary that He was born before King Herod died, whose death is historically recorded as being in 4 BC.  The magi from the East could have seen His star up to a couple of years before they actually arrived in Bethlehem, Israel.