Israel’s Independence Day – 6 May 2014

Tuesday, May 6, is Israel’s 66th Independence Day.  Millions of Jews suffered, were murdered, died in the Holocaust; tens of thousands more have died in the wars from the inception of the re-establishment of the Jewish people back in their homeland; hundreds are memorialized for their deaths since 1860 as they ‘returned to Zion’.  All of this human tragedy and valor as a price in order to be redeemed from the lands of exile, scattered around the globe, after 1900 years, and to be free as a people in their own  land.  And yet. . . .there is still no genuine and lasting peace, freedom, nor true independence.  These can come only from God, and specifically from the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob — Yehovah, Possessor of Heaven and Earth.

No man can save himself, at any price.  He needs the right man who has legal rights of redemption, and is capable and willing to pay the price required.  Redemption is always from a negative state to a restored and improved positive situation than the original condition had been.  For example, we who know Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Messiah, have not been forgiven of our sins just to continue on as before.  This might seem “good enough”.  But no!  We have also received the indwelling of God’s own Spirit to purify us, and have inherited eternal life and the Kingdom of God with the Lord!   Far better!  The eternal life is not a return to the original ‘Paradise’, the Garden of Eden, as good as that might seem:  the serpent, the devil, was there, as was the forbidden fruit to frustrate mankind from the beginning.  The New Heavens and New Earth for the redeemed will be perfect, with all futility removed and no thing to mar them forever.  Far better!

When we fellowship in the Lord’s Supper, we remember our redemption and the price paid for it.  But it is not something merely factual:  we remember with love and thanksgiving our Redeemer and Ransomer who gave Himself as the human seed of Abraham, that all who believe — whether of Abraham’s natural covenanted family or not — receive the unimaginable greater benefits which come with salvation, bought with the price of the blood of the Son of God crucified.  Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ is the New Covenant:  He is the Lamb slain; His is the blood.  God has raised Him from the dead and given Him glory.  He is Israel’s Hope.

We were slaves to sin and death; now we are free to righteousness and life.  A return to God through Jesus, and knowing the Father and the Son  — and being known by the Lord:  this is true peace, liberty, and independence.

THE NEW MOON: COVERED, OR REVEALED?

On March 11 there is a New Moon.  Will you see it?  What is it that you will see?

This New Moon also marks the beginning of the first month in God’s redemptive calendar year given to Israel, leading up to the Passover on the Full Moon two weeks later. (Ex 12:2)

So, is the new moon covered over, that is, darkened?; or, is it a slim crescent, that is, partially revealed or exposed?  The Scriptures are not silent about this, since God commanded Israel to celebrate every New Moon, and to blow the trumpets on that occasion! (Num 10:10)  If Jesus does fulfill the meaning of the New Moon, and if the moon does symbolize Israel, then the answer to whether the new moon is covered or partially revealed will be consistent with its symbolism. 

There are three Bible references to the New Moon that can help us: 

1Sam 20:5   “And David said the Jonathan, ‘Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the King to eat.  But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening.'”

From this verse, we can see that David knew when there would be a new moon, without there being any official ‘spotters’ to watch for it and inform all the others after they had seen it.  David also says that he will be hiding in the field.  How hiding?  Because there would be no light of the moon to help make him visible in any movements, as he sought to protect himself from the king who sought his life.  How long did he plan to hide out in the field during the new moon?  Until the third evening, which is about the length of time for the dark moon to wax as it goes from its final light phase to its next crescent moon. 

Amos 8:5   “. . . When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? . . . .”

The heartless people who were only concerned with their own commercial interests at the expense of the poor and needy were anxious to know when the beginning-of-the-month New Moon (and the end-of-the-week Sabbath) would be over – and not, “when is it?” — so that they could get back to business and oppress the poor and needy.  If the New Moon were a sliver of light (like the Islamic sign by sight!), there would be no need of the question!  But if the new moon is darkened by the Earth being directly between it and the Sun, it could take up to three days until the life that was hidden appeared again to sight.  The oppressors wanted to know when they could again be ‘freed’ from the constraints of the Law of God in whatever way it restricted their evil thoughts and plans.

Ps 81:3-4Eng   “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon; at the covering, on our celebration day.  For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob.” 

Verse 3 has been used by many to go through hoops not to accept it for what it plainly and simply says in Hebrew.  The two verses are each in parallel.  Verse 4 (5 in Hebrew) says in parallel the same thing:  God gave His instruction to Israel – to Jacob – to celebrate the New Moon.  Verse 3 (4 in Hebrew) is describing when to blow the trumpet:  at the New Moon, which is described as being covered.  The parallel part of the verse is not describing the time, nor is it speaking of two different moon phases, just as the other verse is not speaking of two different peoples.  And, God did not command Israel to blow the trumpets on the full moons.  The Hebrew word is ba-kaseh (כסה), which simply means “at the [whole] covering“.  If something is partially covered, it is not ‘covered’; it is partly exposed.  We do not speak of covering something in some measure of light, but we speak of covering something over.  Light reveals; darkness covers.  Yeshua spoke of letting our light shine, not being hidden under cover of a basket. (Mt 5:14-16) The heavens declare the glory of God!

(You can read the full article here:  http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/the-new-moon-covered-or-revealed/ )

BIRTH, DEATH, AND GOOD FRIDAY OF MESSIAH YESHUA THE LORD – 12 Dec 2012

I just did a quick count-down and count-up and came to this conclusion on this fourth day of Hanukkah:  if Jesus died in 30 AD (which is 40 years before the Temple’s destruction; mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 39b, and also referred to in the Jerusalem Talmud; see http://www3.telus.net/public/kstam/en/temple/details/evidence.htm  ), and was 33 1/2 yrs old (having begun His 3 1/2 yr public ministry when He was about 30 years old, then He was born in Dec., 5 B.C., by my reckoning. http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/conception-and-birth-of-john-the-baptiser-and-jesus-the-messiah/  (If He were born in 2 B.C., because of Herod dying in 1 BC instead of in 4 BC before Passover, then His death would have been in 33 AD, which reduces the forty years from the rent veil till the Temple’s destruction).  The magi from the East could have seen His star up to a couple of years before they actually arrived in Bethlehem, Israel.

Yeshua, as the Passover Lamb, began His last week (Passion Week) in Jerusalem on Sunday, the first day of the week (the day after the Sabbath), which would have been the 10th day of the first month (Nisan) leading up to the Passover.  He was “examined” until the 14th of the month (Ex 12), and was found without spot or blemish by the people, by the Jewish rulers (they needed false witnesses in order to “make” Him guilty and condemn Him), and by Pilate and Herod.  He was crucified and died on the afternoon of the 14th of the month, Thursday.  This also fulfills the prophecy connected with Jonah, that Jesus would be in the heart of the Earth for three days and three nights, rising early on the first day of the week as the first-fruits from among the dead, the day after the Sabbath.

“Good Friday” would have been a Sabbath as being the first full day of Passover (Lev 23); and I believe it is called Good Friday because believers — after the fact (and the Holy Spirit from the beginning) — would have come to understand that what took place the day before was actually the greatest victory of all ages and the essence of the Good News and the New Covenant:  Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and to bury our sins with Him, fulfilling the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the appointed time of the 15th day of the first month!  HalleluYah!

The Hebrew/Jewish/Messianic roots of New Testament faith are found in the Word of God given to and through Israel.

ANTI-BOYCOTT LAW – 13 July 2011

Two days ago a bill against boycotting Israeli products and services originating from within the ‘territories’ — Judea and Samaria — was passed into law by Israel’s Knesset (Parliament).  The new law allows citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call for economic, cultural, or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions, or regions under Israeli control.  It also prevents the government from doing business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.  Anyone who considers himself harmed economically by such a boycott is entitled to sue for civil damages.  Israel has no formal constitution.

The individual freedom to not support or to sustain certain products, or to visit certain countries, or to belong to certain political or religious groups is allowed; to impose by law or through intimidation my personal choices upon others is not.  The national interest in upholding laws binding upon all its citizenry and residents for the general welfare and the security of the nation-state is allowed; the elimination of free, public expression of those laws is not.  Israel’s own efforts and might to defend itself from its enemies can not be solved by either economic, political, or military means.  Nor can she save herself by depending on another nation to protect her.  Nor can he be who God called and chose him to be by closing in on himself.  What light is that to the nations?!  Israelis and the Jewish people have long wanted to be ‘like the Gentiles’, and asked for a king like the Gentiles have.  God gave them what they asked for in Saul, whose name means just that:  asked for!  But YHVH has other ideas about what His people are to be, and He admonishes them strongly that what they want — to be like the heathen (in this sense of ‘gentile’) — “shall never be!” (Ezek 20:32-33)

God gave His ‘constitution’ to Israel at Mt. Sinai before they became a nation-state.  Of course, Israel broke this covenantal foundation for governance, and it was also impossible for human beings and nations to live up to. (Acts 15:10)  The Lord is good at “catch-22’s”, in order that we would seek HIS righteousness rather than continuing to try to establish our own.  The need for any nation to defend its ‘values’ is clear.  HOW to do that in a democratic, pluralistic setting — and with religion and peoplehood as integral components of those values — continues to defy civil libertarians as well as pursuers of peace.  Those on the ‘right’ and those on the ‘left’ both have their own, often compromised, justifications to merit consideration of their viewpoint.  Yet from on high, the Word of YHVH comes to tell us that “ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”.

Democracy is the last great bastion of sinful humanity to govern itself without a king to rule over them, or a priest to uphold the true religious faith, or a prophet to call all to repentance back to the ultimate Judge of what is righteous and good.  For those who truly seek righteousness, peace, and truth, the short-comings and failures which all face — whether believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, or whether believers in anything or anyone else, even in nothing and no-one — as we seek to govern others and to be governed by others (while Jesus is excluded for political correctness and to appease false prophets), should lead us towards repentance in the hope that the one true God of both Jews and Gentiles would again intervene to bring to an end all the wanna-be kingdoms of the world, and to establish His glorious kingdom — not of this world — which will never end.

We do need GOD’s anointed King-Priest to rule both within and over us.  The New Covenant promises a new heart and a new spirit — not for Israel only, but for all mankind who come into that covenant through the shed blood of God’s Son.  Then will Israel, YHVH’s  first-born nation, be enabled to be and do what God has created and redeemed her for.

“. . .for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people!’  For what great nation is there that has God near to it, as YHVH our God is to us, for whatever we may call upon Him?  And what great nation is there that has statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this Law which I set before you this day?  Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  And teach them to your children and your grandchildren. . . .” (Dt 4:6-9

“…Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance!” (Ps 33:10-12)

 Even so, Come, Adon Yeshua/Lord Jesus!

HOLOCAUST AND DELIGITIMIZATION – 1 May 2011

This evening in Israel marks the beginning of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The Holocaust of the Jewish people, in particular, by the Nazi regime during WWII is unique in its scale and impact.  There is really no other effort at genocide that compares historically.

Holocaust is a Greek word meaning “whole-burnt offering by fire”.  This is a term for one of the sacrifices offered unto YHVH God by Israel under the Law of Moses.  It is also the word used to describe the sacrifice of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah in His crucifixion. 

The sacrifice of approximately 6,000,000 Jews — unwilling though it was on their part — was the catalyst to move the principalities and authorities of the world to grant the Jewish people a sovereign homeland in Palestine/The State of Israel by a large majority in the United Nations in November 1947 — 30 years after the Balfour Declaration proclaimed by the British Government during WWI.

In our day and generation there is a growing movement in the world to de-legitimize the reality of the Holocaust — either by denying it altogether, or by minimizing its scale and scope, or else by making it comparable to other genocides.  This movement even has adherents among some Jews and Israelis and some Christians.  If the Holocaust can be de-ligitimized for what it was — despite all the evidence to the contrary — it helps in legitimizing the de-ligitimization of the “resurrection” of the State of Israel’s right to exist and its right to continue to defend itself.

About 2000 years ago, the Israeli Jewish people as a whole de-legitimized the uniqueness and impact of the “holocaust” of the Messiah, the Son of God.  By so doing, our people also continue until today to deny or minimize the reality of the actual and unique resurrection of Jesus, proof that God justified Him during His life and through His being put to death.

Just as the one true God is active today to bring His people Israel back to Himself through their repentance over our ultimate rebellion against Him, so, too, is the same God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob working to bring the nations to accept HIS JUSTIFICATION of the re-establishment of a nation of Jews back in the very land which He promised to those Fathers and to their descendants as an everlasting possession.  God’s long-suffering over His own beloved people is for the purpose of salvation, that many more would be saved by repentance and faith in His gospel.  This same attribute of our God is working to bring salvation to many more Gentiles, i.e., non-Jews/Israelis, and to bring both Jews, Christians, and nations to fear Him who alone forgives sins.

The salvation of all depends on their relationship to Jesus Christ, and is connected in some measure to their relationship to the least of His brethren.  (I will leave that an open comment.)  The inheritance which the God of Israel offers to nations is connected to the salvation of ‘all’ Israel, His first-born among the nations.  There are others which will become His, but not without the first-born.

Holocaust Remembrance Day offers much to chew and to meditate on.  Yeshua Messiah is Lord of all history, and He is the Keeper of His people — both of the flesh, and also of the Spirit.