THE FLOWING STREAMS OF THE LAST DAYS – 1 Dec 2012

War is natural to the devil and to fallen human nature.  We hear and read about wars every day, and many suffer up close and personally at the hands of those who would destroy the Earth.  Yeshua has told us that until the end there will be wars and rumors of wars.  The Word of God in the whole of the Bible makes it clear for those who believe that at the end of the day, the victory is God’s and His Name will be holy:  all will know that Yeshua/Jesus is YEHOVAH, to the glory of God the Father.  We can trace this flow, even as streams of rockets fly through the air, which will eventually bring peace to the Middle East and to the entire world, by looking at Moses and the Prophets, and at the New Testament:

Dt 20:1-4  When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots, a people more than you, do not be afraid of them. For Yehovah your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.  And it shall be, when you come near to the battle, the priest shall go up and speak to the people, and shall say to them, Hear, O, Israel, today you go up to battle against your enemies. Do not let your hearts faint, do not fear, and do not tremble, neither be terrified before their faces.  For Yehovah your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Ezek 39:7-8, 21-29  And I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. And I will not profane My holy name any more. And the nations shall know that I am Yehovah, the Holy One in Israel.  Behold, it is coming, and it will be done, says the Lord Jehovah. This is the day of which I have spoken. 

And I will set My glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see My judgments which I have done, and My hand that I have laid on them.  So the house of Israel shall know that I am Yehovah their God from that day and forward.  And the nations shall know that the house of Israel was exiled for their iniquity. Because they sinned against Me, therefore I hid My face from them and gave them into the hand of their enemies. So they all fell by the sword.  According to their uncleanness and according to their sins I have done to them, and have hidden My face from them.  Therefore so says the Lord Yehovah: And I will return the captivity of Jacob, and will have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My holy name; after they have borne their shame and all their sins by which they have sinned against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and no one terrifies; when I have brought them again from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; then they shall know that I am Yehovah their God who exiled them among the nations. But I have gathered them to their own land, and have not left any of them there.

Nor will I hide My face from them any more, for I have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord Yehovah.

Zech 12:1-2, 8-10  The burden of the Word of Yehovah for Israel, saysYJehovah, who stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.  Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the peoples all around, and it shall also be against Judah in the siege against Jerusalem.

In that day Yehovah shall defend around the people of Jerusalem. And it will be, he who is feeble among them at that day shall be like David; and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of Yehovah before them.  And it shall be in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.  And I will pour on the house of David, and on the people of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him, as the bitterness over the first-born.

Is 19:19-25   In that day there shall be an altar to Yehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at its border to Yehovah.  And it shall be for a sign and for a witness to Yehovah of Hosts in the land of Egypt. For they shall cry to Yehovah because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a deliverer, and a great one, and will deliver them.  And Yehovah shall be known to Egypt, and Egypt shall know Yehovah in that day, and shall offer sacrifice and offering; and vow a vow to Yehovah, and repay.  And Yehovah shall strike Egypt; He shall strike and heal; and they shall return to Yehovah, and He shall hear them and shall heal them.

In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria shall come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and Egypt shall serve with Assyria.  In that day Israel shall be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Yehovah of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be My people Egypt, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.

Rev 11:15-18   And the seventh angel sounded. And there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever.  And the twenty-four elders sitting before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, We thank You, O Lord God Almighty, who are, and who was, and who is coming, because You took Your great power and reigned.  And the nations were full of wrath, and Your wrath came, and the time of the judging of the dead, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to the ones fearing Your name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth.

Mt 6:8-10, 13   Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.  Therefore pray in this way:  Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from [the] evil.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it isin Heaven.  For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

JACOB BECOMING THE ISRAEL OF GOD – 29 Feb 2012

Today, Israel is acting like Jacob — caring for the things of God, but seeking them by their own abilities in their own strength, rather than by the Spirit of YHVH, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac. (Gen 31:42; Zech 4:6)

Jacob received his new and spiritual name, Israel, only after he had struggled with the Man all night, the night before he would meet again his brother Esau after deceitfully obtaining the birthright and blessing from their father Isaac. (Gen 32)  Jacob knew from early on in his life that the covenant of God with his father and grandfather was something of great value.  Esau did not care for such things of future destiny.  He cared only about the present moment. 

Jacob had struggled with his uncle Laban; with the knowledge that his brother wanted to kill him and deprive him of the inheritance which he himself (Esau/Edom) would never inherit.  Now Jacob, hoping to find favor in Esau’s eyes — hoping that he might not kill him, and allow him to live peaceably — was rightly fearful. (Gen 33)

Jacob met ‘the Man’ — who was Peniel/The Face of God — and struggled with Him all night.  Jacob would not let Him go until He blessed him.  The Man, whose name is Wonderful, gave Jacob — who acknowledged his name as such — a new name:  Israel, meaning “He will reign with God”, or, “God will reign”. (Gen 32:28;and reminded again at Gen 35:9-12

Israel will reign with the God who reigns after he has persevered in the continuing struggle with man and God . . . and prevails when she at last sees Him whom they have pierced, and all their sins are forgiven and put away.  (Zech 12:10-14; Rom 11:25-36)  Then, the natural strength of Jacob will be forever broken — as typified when The Man merely touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, laming him for the rest of his life as a reminder — and in their weakness and dependence upon their God, Israel will know His mighty ability and strength, who could have overwhelmed him. (2Cor 11:22-30; 12:7-10; Mt 26:30-35,69-75)  Both Peter and Paul are given to us to learn the way of the cross as we follow the Lamb.  Thank God for His grace!

Israel has been given as an example to the Church.  The God of Jacob (Gen 3:13-15; Acts 3:12-13) works His redeeming glory in Christians just as He does in the Jewish people.  Not all Israel is Israel; not all the Church is the Church — but those, like Jacob, who overcome — by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.  Not by ability, nor by power, but by the grace of our God.  And we will rule and reign with Messiah Yeshua! (Rev 12:10-11; 2:24-28; 3:19-22)

Our struggle and tribulation with man, with nations, within families, with history, with God will go on until the end, just as Israel’s and the Jewish people. (Mt 24:9-14)  Let us press on in faith in the goodness of our Father, and His exceedingly great and precious promises which He has given us through Jesus, enduring, so that after we have done the will of God, we may receive the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. (2Pt 1:1-4; Heb 10:3239

Psalm 129:1-5  A song of ascents

‘ “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”, let Israel now say — “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; yet they have not prevailed against me!   “The plowers plowed my back; they made their furrows long.”

YHVH is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.  Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back. . . .’

Praise the Lord!

THE TENTH OF THE SEVENTH MONTH – 8 Oct 2011

Today is the 10th day of the 7th month in the Biblical Hebrew calendar.  It is the holiest day in the Jewish year; it is the Sabbath of Sabbaths, and today is, in fact, also the Sabbath day.  This day is called the Day of Atonements (Yom Ha-Kippurim; Yom Kippur)  You can read its significance in chapters 16 and 23 of Leviticus in the Torah.

The streets of Beer Sheva are full of children laughing and playing in the streets, as cars are not being driven on the roads.  Synagogues of full of people seeking God’s forgiveness of their sins, with the hope that He would grant them another year of life.  The Book of Jonah is read in the synagogues on this most holy day:  the very sign which Messiah Yeshua gave to His people who are still rejecting Him for who He is — that of Jonah — has sovereignly been placed into the liturgy of this most sacred day for the Jewish people to read!

What is striking about YHVH God’s requirements for this day on behalf of the children of Israel is that the nation should afflict its soul.  The nation is made up of individuals, each one of whom is called to afflict his/her soul.  There is no specific commandment to fast from eating:  fasting in itself does not afflict one’s soul; but if one’s soul is afflicted, he will not want to eat.

The Biblical record in the Old and the New Testaments does not really give us an account of Israel observing the Day of Atonements.  Even in the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8, there is the account of the people observing the first day of the seventh month — the Memorial of the Blowing of Shofars/Trumpets — and then the celebration of Booths, which begins on the evening of the 14th of the month (the 15th day).  Yom Kippur is skipped over in the account.

Looking ahead, we read in Zechariah chapter 12 that that day is coming when all Israel — the full remnant which remains from all the tribes — who will look on Him — on Jesus/Yeshua — whom we have pierced.  And then there will be a great travail of soul within each Israeli as part of a national/corporate reality.  When Israel finally sees and accepts her sin against the Father and the Son — the very One who has preserved them, and who gave up His life for them that their sins would be forgiven and removed — there will be a great affliction of soul, and God will dwell in the midst of His people.

For the Christian — those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ — has your soul been afflicted for the sins of the Church against the truth of Jesus?  When we read the assessment of the Lord Jesus Himself concerning His churches in chapters 2 and 3 of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and His call to each person within the churches to hear what the Spirit is saying, have you ever experienced an affliction of your soul for your own part in that?  Have we ever been broken to the point of weeping for our own sinfulness, not merely over some sins we may be committing?

Rom 7:12   For indeed the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.

Rom 7:13  Then has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But sin, that it might appear to be sin, working death in me by that which is good; in order that sin might become exceedingly sinful by the commandment.

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom 7:15  For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.

Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I do not desire, I consent to the law that it is good.

Rom 7:17  But now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find.

Rom 7:19  For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do.

Rom 7:20  But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me.

Rom 7:21  I find then a law: when I will to do the right, evil is present with me.

Rom 7:22  For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man;

Rom 7:23  but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members.

Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?! 

Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

HIDING PRIDE FROM MAN: MANY FIRST SHALL BE LAST – 16 May 1998

Ezek. 11: 14-16  –  pride of circumstances
Zech.  12: 7 – pride of election
Rom. 11: 25-32  – pride of man

God works in mysterious ways, but always with wisdom and perfect understanding in all things.  He has a plan which He conceived before time began, and He will fully display its perfection when time is no more.  Meanwhile, a major objective of all His activities is to resist the pride which is in man and in nations, and to bring forth in His children the choice fruit of the Holy Spirit:  a holy man and people, who have learned from the Messiah Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart.  To whom much is given much is required.  To whom has more been given than to Israel and to the Church?

With this in mind, I want to share about a subject that many of us pray about, even worry over.  Over the years, many people have complained to the congregational leadership and even blamed us regarding this matter.  As one who also is deeply interested in the same, I have sought the LORD about it, and not too long ago I believe that He has given me His answer.  The subject is:  Why aren’t more Israelis repenting and believing in Yeshua, and why doesn’t our kehila do something to make the services more Jewish or Israeli in order to be more effective in this regard?

In the beginning the first believers were Jews and the church had a heavily Jewish flavor.  Because the nation of  Israel did not accept or receive her long-promised Redeemer-King, then afterwards, in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord, God took away the privileges belonging to Israel as first-born among the nations unto God, and He gave them to the Gentiles in order to obtain His fruit (Mt. 21:40-46).  (This follows a consistent Biblical pattern of the first-born losing the presumed birthright and blessing, even if only for a time.)  From then until now the Body of Messiah has been heavily un-Jewish in outward personality and style.  The relatively few Jews who have been born- again have had effectually little impact.  Even in Israel today it is no easy matter to define or determine Jewishness or Israeliness.

The answer to the subject lies in the necessity of God to cause His people to humble themselves—each one and all together—in order to know the glory of God in His wisdom to build up (edify) the weak and despised, even His Church.  Many who are first shall be last.

Let us look together at three passages from the O.T. and N.T., from which I believe the Holy Spirit opened my understanding to see their relevance to our own day and time:

  1. Ezek. 11:14-17 (Deut. 8:10-18) – Those living in Jerusalem, the beloved city of the Great King, believed that they were special because they lived in Jerusalem and in the Land of Israel.  They disdained in their hearts those Jews who were living in the dispersion, saying, “Get you far from YHVH;  this land is given to us as a possession!”  But God comforted those in captivity outside the land and said that he would be for them a little sanctuary.  The Good Shepherd cares for those who are dismissed in the eyes of the so-called privileged, and He brings us home according to His promise!

Brothers and sisters, most Jews who are saved today live in the diaspora and not in  Israel.  In Israel the Jewish leaders presume to themselves the determination of who/what is a Jew while remaining indifferent or hostile to the claims of Jesus.  But the LORD has been faithful to many Jewish people not living in Israel today.  There is no place for pride before God!  It doesn’t “cut it” with Him.

2.   Zech. 12:7 (Dt 17:20) –  In  order to subdue pride in the chosen  House of David to whom belonged the  ruling authority, YHVH would save others from the House of Judah first.  Today, most of the Israeli Jews who do believe in Yeshua are immigrants like most of us here.  Very few are native-born (“sabras”).  Think what it is like when local people or an influential family controls a situation.  It becomes very difficult for an outsider or a newcomer to fit in.  The locals have the language, the culture, the contacts, the power.  They think, “This is how it’s done here, and we know how to do it!”

God in His sovereign grace and wisdom is giving those with less status and natural privileges an opportunity to grow and develop confidence.  He wants all His people to be kings and priests.  Likewise is our Father in Heaven subduing the pride of the Israeli by showing His love for us all who live here in the Land of the Covenant.  He has something for all His family members.  The personal relationship of each of us with Father is of great importance and value.

3.    Rom. 11:25-32 (Deut. 32:21) – God is still saving Gentiles and is using them to provoke Israel to jealousy, and even to anger.  Look at how many foreign workers are being brought into the Kingdom of God right under our Jewish noses right here in Israel and Beer Sheva!  Still the Jewish people are partially blinded and will be until the fullness of the Gentiles is completed.  Meanwhile God is requiring Israeli believers here to accept their Gentile brethren fully and equally, just as we have wanted them to accept us fully and equally in Messiah.  It is in mercy that any of us are saved by God.

The prayers of the Lord Yeshua and of all the saints throughout the generations have been accumulating until today for the Kingdom of God the Father to come and for Israel to be restored and saved.  We are entering into the labors of others also working by the Spirit of Messiah, and the time is near when God is going to answer all these prayers.  We can be thankful for all of the Jewish people being saved today.  Much opposition to the truth of God still reflects the great pride in man.  We want to see more “real” Israelis repent and believe the truth of Messiah in Jesus.

Peter, the apostle to the Jews, was a typical Israeli.  The lesson he had to learn is one we must all learn:  to accept God’s way of doing things.  The Holy Spirit will glorify the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and not ourselves or our culture.

Let us remain obedient with faith in what we have been given to do and God will take care of the consequences.  Praise the LORD!  Amen.

Rom. 11:33-36