My Scripture Studies
Remove the Blinders - Live the Bible!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Message to Benghazi and the World

How can we show the lovingkindness and forgiveness of God?

Anita Smith shows the world how the cry of Stephen recorded in Acts 7: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" as she says she forgives the attackers.

Her husband, Ronnie Smith at age 33 was shot and killed two weeks ago in Benghazi while jogging in the morning near the American Consulate where the American diplomatic mission was attacked a year earlier on September 11, 2012 when U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans (Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty) were killed in a terrorist mob attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Ronnie had been there in Benghazi providing a heroic ministry of teaching Libyan students at the International School for the last 18 months.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Messiah 2Corinthians 10:1
Thanks to my sister in The Lord, Misha for sharing this unbelievable story today of Ronnie's incredible wife Anita who wants this message to go out to the attackers in Benghazi:
"I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this".

"I pray with all my heart that the attackers, that maybe this incident would call them to know the love and the forgiveness that's found in Jesus, I really do."
CNN reports:
To the attackers, she wrote: "I love you and I forgive you."

To the Libyan people, she said, "We came to bless you, but you have blessed us much more. Thank you."

Benghazi was the cradle of Libya's 2011 revolution that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime but since then, the new government is struggling to control armed groups in the country.

Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi also is where militants attacked a U.S. diplomatic mission in September 2012, killing four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The United States blames the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia for the attack.

"I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie's death, but that's not what Ronnie would want," Smith wrote of her husband. "I want all of you -- all of the people of Libya -- to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie's blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God."
From the Austin Stone church here in Austin...
For right now, we ask you to:

Pray for Anita, Hosea, and the rest of Anita and Ronnie’s family
Grieve for the loss of our brother with the hope of Christ
Trust that God’s will is perfect and His purposes are good

The Austin Stone will be assisting Ronnie's wife, Anita, financially. If you would like to make a gift in memory of Ronnie Smith, please follow this link.

Proceeds from the sale of The History of Redemption, an illustrated collection of scriptures edited by Ronnie Smith, will support the Smith family. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Is it any wonder that Ronnie Smith edited "The History of Redemption"?

Is it any wonder Ronnie Smith taught its message?

No. And you will know why when you read the glorious open letter 'To the Libyan people' his wife Anita Smith has written:
"My husband and best friend Ronnie Smith loved the Libyan people. For more than a year, Ronnie served as a chemistry teacher in a school in Benghazi, and he would gladly have given more years to Libya if unknown gunmen had not cut his life short on December 5, 2013.

Ronnie and I came to Libya because we saw the suffering of the Libyan people, but we also saw your hope, and we wanted to partner with you to build a better future. Libya was very different from what we had experienced before, but we were excited to learn about Libyan culture. Ronnie grew to love you and your way of life, as did I. Ronnie really was "Libya’s best friend".

Friends and family from home were concerned about our safety, as were some of you. We talked about this more times than I can count. But we stayed because we believed the Libyan people were worth the risk. Even knowing what I know now, I have no doubt that we would both make the same decision all over again.

Ronnie loved you all so much, especially his students. He loved to joke with you, tell stories about you, help you with your lives and challenge you to be all that you could be. He did his best to live out his faith humbly and respectfully within a community of people with a different faith.

To his attackers: I love you and I forgive you.

How could I not? For Jesus taught us to “Love our enemies” -- not to kill them or seek revenge. Jesus sacrificed His life out of love for the very people who killed him, as well as for us today. His death and resurrection opened the door for us to walk on the straight path to God in peace and forgiveness. Because of what Jesus did, Ronnie is with Jesus in paradise now. Jesus did not come only to take us to paradise when we die, but also to bring peace and healing on this earth. Ronnie loved you because God loves you. Ronnie loved you because God loved him - not because Ronnie was so great, but because God is so great.

To the Libyan people: I always expected that God would give us a heart to love you, but I never expected you to love us so much. We came to bless you, but you have blessed us much more. Thank you. Thank you for your support and love for Ronnie and our son Hosea and me. Since Ronnie’s death my love for you has increased in ways that I never imagined. I feel closer to you now than ever before.

I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie’s death, but that's not what Ronnie would want. Ronnie would want his death to be an opportunity for us to show one another love and forgiveness, because that’s what God has shown us.

I want all of you - all of the people of Libya - to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie's blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God."
With her incredible message of love to Benghazi and the world, Anita is living out the teaching and instruction, the Torah that was expounded by Messiah Yeshua:
You have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate your enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
The Austin Stone church will be assisting Ronnie's wife, Anita financially. If you would like to participate just make a gift in memory of Ronnie Smith, please click here.
But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 2Corinthians 10:17
Back in February 2011, Joel Rosenberg posted this on his blog...
"Libya is referred to numerous times in the Scriptures, both directly and indirectly.

In Matthew 27, for example, we learn that it was a Libyan man — Simon of Cyrene (a part of ancient Libya) — who carried the cross for our Lord Jesus.

In Acts chapter 2, we learn that God-fearing men from Libya were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and heard the Apostle Peter preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some 3,000 people that days repented of their sins and became fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It is likely that Libyans were among them since they are mentioned in the text.

In Acts 11, we learn that Libyan (Cyrene) followers of Jesus Christ helped bring the gospel to Antioch, Syria, and made disciples for Jesus there.

In Acts 13 we learn that a Libyan man — Lucius of Cyrene — becomes one of the leaders of the church at Antioch, helping send out Barnabus and Paul to take the gospel to Asia and Europe.

Again and again in the Scriptures we see that the Lord loves the people of Libya. He wants them to know Him and receive His free gift of salvation.

That said, Bible prophecy also tells us the government and many of the people of Libya will be engaged in great evil in the End of Days.

In Ezekiel 38-39, we learn that Libya is one of the nations that joins the Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel in “the last days.” In this prophecy, Ezekiel uses the name “Put.”

The first century historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his famous book, The Antiquities of the Jews, that “Put” or “Phut” is “ancient Libyos.” Ancient Libyos, we know, certainly included the territory of the modern nation state we refer to today as Libya, but also included Algeria and possibly Tunisia. This tells us the no matter what the near term outcomes of the revolutions underway in North Africa are, in the not-too-distant future Libya for certain and her neighbors will have virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel leadership who will eagerly join a coalition bent on destroying the Jews and occupy the land of Israel."
Rosenberg went on stating:
"In Daniel 11, we learn that Libya is one of the countries that will be under the control and direction of the Antichrist in “the last days.” The Hebrew Prophet Daniel tells us that “a despicable person will arise” during “a time of tranquility” and will seize global power “by intrigue” and by “overflowing forces” in the End Times.

This person, known in Christian theology as the Antichrist, “will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” The Bible tells us the Antichrist “will enter the Beautiful Land” — that is, Israel — and “will stretch out his hand against other countries.” Eventually, the Antichrist will gain control of the entire world and force all people who haven’t received Christ as Savior and Lord to bow and worship him or be beheaded. But the Bible specifically notes that the Antichrist “will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [the people of “Cush,” which includes modern Sudan, Ethiopia and possible Eritrea] will follow at his heels.” It is not entirely clear why the Bible points specifically to “Libyans” and “Ethiopians” as among those who will follow and serve the Antichrist, but this is what the Lord tells us in advance will happen.

This is all the more reason the Church must seek to reach all of North Africa with the gospel of Jesus Christ before it is too late. Please be praying faithfully for Libya and all of North Africa at this critical hour."
Joel Rosenberg is a gifted writer, he is recognized by The New York Times as a Best Selling" author and he studies the Bible. He is concerned about an anti-christ person, a deceptive, demon possessed evil world leader, that may be accurate but I am gravely concerned about an antichrist movement, a Shariah beast system of terror rule led by false prophets, the Imams, Muftis and Clerics teaching deception from the Hadith's and the Qu'ran. I am deeply concerned about an antichrist spirit of oppression that declares Jesus is not the Son of God and ultimately brings terror and death to innocents like Ronnie Smith and tens of thousands of others whether in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Beirut, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Entebbe, Glasgow, London, Bali, Somalia, Indonesia, Islamabad, Casablanca, Istanbul, Ankara, Madrid, the Twin Towers, Fort Hood or Benghazi.

I hate to say it, but there will be many more global casualties from terrorism to be recorded abroad and at home, many more places to name, many fatalities and injuries to grieve over and never forget, yet our focus must be on Israel and Jerusalem.

Strangely, the waves of Islamic terrorism began shortly

The letter of 1John 4 describes that this deadly "spirit" was alive and well almost 2,000 years ago there in the Promised Land:
"Beloved, don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn't confess that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the anti-messiah, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already." 1John 4:1-3 HNV
What does this all mean?

It means that it is now time to repent and return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment and pray for the people of Libya.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving God and He has provided a way to offer you and Libya His salvation. You can accept His gift of life now. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God.

Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him right now!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17

Update February 16, 2015: Sisi warns of response after Islamic State kills 21 Egyptians in Libya
"CAIRO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Islamic State released a video on Sunday that appeared to show the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that his country would respond to the deaths as it saw fit.

Speaking on national television hours after the release of the video, Sisi said Cairo would choose the "necessary means and timing to avenge the criminal killings".

Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead.

The beheadings could stiffen Sisi's resolve in dealing with security threats from militants thriving in neighbouring Libya's chaos who want to topple his U.S.-backed government.

Egypt has denied reports in the past that it had taken part, along with its close ally the United Arab Emirates, in air strikes against militants based in Libya.

The footage showing the deaths of the Egyptians appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State, which has seized parts of Iraq and Syria and has also beheaded Western hostages.

In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded.

A caption on the five-minute video read: "The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church." Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: "Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for."

Thousands of Egyptians desperate for work have travelled to Libya since an uprising at home in 2011, despite advice from their government not to go to a country sliding into lawlessness."

Update January 13, 2015: This horrific new report comes today: Libya ISIS Libya affiliate claims to kidnap Christians
"CAIRO - A Libyan affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed the abduction of 21 Coptic Christians and released pictures of the captives.

The claim and photos were posted Monday on jihadi forums used by ISIS supporters. The Egyptian workers were seized last month in the central Libyan city of Sirte.

"The soldiers of the Islamic State in the province of Tripoli hold captive 21 Christian crusaders," the photo caption read, using a the name the group uses for itself."

Update November 29, 2014: This audio update is from Crescent Project.

Crescent Project's mission is to inspire, equip and serve people to reach out Muslims with the Gospel of Christ for the Glory of God. The audio was recorded on Revival Radio WROL 950, a Christian radio station in Boston, Massachusetts. It is titled: Speaking life into the darkest night - Part 1.

Crescent Project interviews Anita Smith, widow of Ronnie Smith, chemistry teacher slain in Benghazi, Libya. Approaching the one year anniversary of this dark event, Anita shares their story and her remarkable response, a Gospel light shone into a dark world.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Miketz... "At the End"

Genesis 41:1–44:17 is called Miketz מִקֵּץ and in Hebrew it means "At The End." 

It starts with Pharaoh’s dream, in the end it tells us when Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house. They discovered that he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him. This story is a prophecy that will come true again.

In my Scripture studies I read the big story of Joseph (Yosef) continues through the Torah portions Vayigash ויגש "He Drew Near" in Genesis 44:18 - 47:27 on though through Vayechi ויחי "He Lived" in Genesis 47:28 - 50:26.

The conclusion of Genesis account is about the story of Joseph, but there's more to it, so we'll dig in.

Let's start with the name Joseph. In Hebrew, Yosef means "Yehoveh has added"...

Added what?

The Exodus story shows us Elohim added the Gentiles aka the nations into Abraham's blessing promise. 

Elohim kept His word by bringing them out of Egypt grafting them into the covenant blessing given at Sinai. This points to the adoption shown by Jacob with his hand crossing over Manasseh and Ephraim. Take note, they were the sons of an Egyptian mother and her Dad was a pagan priest (Genesis 41:45). Their mother was not Jewish, not even close.

Almighty God blessed Joseph in Egypt and in the end, Joseph not only saved his native born family, he saved the people of Egypt as well. When God promised Abraham that his seed would be a blessing to all the world, He meant it and He will continue to keep His promise!

In the end, the prophet Isaiah tells us The Lord's House of Prayer (Isaiah 56:7) is front and center of the Kingdom of God. The book of Revelation agrees the Kingdom will be made up of “all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9)

Yeshua spoke the following for good reason and it ties back to the story of Joseph: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me." (John 5:6). 

I would have loved to see the looks on the faces of the two men walking on the road to Emmaus as Yeshua likely included the meaning of Yosef's life story to their understanding of Messiah. It would be unusual to omit the Torah portions about Joseph. After all, Joseph's story is the longest account in the Torah. 

Here's what was said on the road to Emmaus:
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:27
Joseph's story is one that points to Messiah's final redemption. The beginning of Joseph's story reveals the tribes of Israel were driven out of the land of Canaan by famine and that account begins with the betrayal of Joseph.  Forty years after Yeshua's betrayal at Passover, the remnant of Israel was driven out of their homeland into exile by the Romans.

Today, Yeshua is like Joesph, He remains disguised, unknown to the large majority of His Jewish brothers and sisters today, but one day, just like Joseph He will be seen for who He is and I think that He may say do not be distressed or angry with yourselves:
So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." And they came near. And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:4-5 
About 2,000 years ago, the Emmaus road trip pointed back to parallels in the exodus salvation. That story will be Yeshua's story "at the end" of His ministry. He was basically known only by Jewish people long ago but over time due to a disguise that arose in the famine of replacement theology, Christians rejected His brothers saying they hung Him on the cross yet, it was the Romans that did that. 

Yeshua lives today because of the power of God in resurrection and its purpose is in God's plan for the restoration of His Kingdom and the Jewish people. 

In the end Joseph's bones were returned to the Promised Land. But, in the end, the Messiah of Israel will return alive and well and He will even call Joseph's bones back to life like Lazarus. I think Joseph may have known that. Perhaps his father told him of the end to come in resurrection. That's not in the Bible, but Joseph will awaken to new life back home.

In my Scripture studies, I've found a treasure "at the end." The parallels in Genesis are amazing for Yosef and Yeshua. They were both:

• Born through a womb opened by God.
• Loved by their father.
• Obeyed their father.
• A part the family of Israel.
• A shepherd of his father’s sheep.
• Recipients of prophecy from God.
• Sent to seek out and find their brothers.
• Plotted against by their kindred.
• Hated for their words of truth.
• Hated by brothers.
• Wearing garments dipped in blood.
• Robbed of robes.
• Sold for silver.
• Taken to Egypt as a boy as part of God's plan.
• Stripped and put in a pit of the earth.
• Lied about concerning the pit.
• Rose up to glory out of the earth.
• Given a new life.
• A blessing to others.
• Righteous and refused temptation to sin.
• About 30 years old at this time of their ministry.
• Falsely accused.
• Condemned with two prisoners.
• Involved with bread and wine.
• Suffered for the sake of saving many.
• Exalted to powerful rule.
• Given a gentile bride.
• Provided food for the hungry.
• A provider of bread.
• Alone while saving others.
• Forgave others.
• Servant that became highly exalted.
• Offered salvation to the world.
• Bowed to in honor.
• Purposeful in keeping their identities hidden.
• Not recognized.
• Able to open eyes so their true identity could be seen.
• Offering forgiveness and reconciliation.
• Taken out of Egypt.
• Exalted to rule after suffering.
• Promised the return of Israel's return to the Promised Land.
• Returned to their father.

Beginning in Genesis 42:24 we can read about Joseph's weeping seven times for his brothers and for his father. Te thing is he wept loudest when he revealed himself to his brothers (see Genesis 45:1-2). His grieving sobs were loud and at the end, he cried as his brothers asked for forgiveness when they recognized him.
"So you shall say to Joseph, forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of your brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him." Genesis 50:17

Like Joseph, Jesus wept too. 
The good news is the weeping is not over. 
Our Savior will be seen again.
 Judah will say I pray forgive, the trespass of your brethren.

Deep weeping is a physical and glorious gift from God as He pours out the water of life like tears to everyone that forgives.

The Genesis portion known as "VaYechi" concludes Joseph's end story. 

Believe it or now, VaYechi is Hebrew for "and he lived. So we must know the whole story of Joseph "speaks" of our living Savior in many ways as his brothers turned against him and did not recognize him. Joseph was put in a pit, hated for the truth, falsely accused and even condemned with two prisoners, the wine maker and bread baker. In the end, Joseph was restored to his brothers. Yeshua's story will be the same.

If we really dig in to the Joseph story, there's much more to "see" at the end of the Torah.

We should know God declares the end from the beginning. Isaiah tells us that (Isaiah 46:10).

The beginning is Genesis and the end can be seen hidden there if we look for the glory of our King. Joseph is well known for his dreams and perhaps there is one hidden in Genesis 50 after we are told of Joseph's weeping.
"Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Genesis 50:23-25
To find the name of the 3rd generation of Ephraim... we need to fast forward to 1Chronicles 7:20-21 "The descendants of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son..."

Tahath תַחַת in Hebrew is spelled with the three Hebrew letters "Tav-Hey-Tav". Their ancient Paleo-Hebrew symbols show us:
Tav appears as a cross, and represents a covenant
Hey means behold
If we look at any Hebrew Torah scroll, we can see that a vav, the "stake' that appears just before the name "Tahath" in Chronicles. We might see that Joseph is the great grandson of Abraham and the name of Joseph's great grandson is Tahath. Joseph knew him, after all he lived 110 years.

When written in the ancient Hebrew script Tahath looks like this:

Joseph saw Tahath... then he died. Yeshua saw the cross and two prisoners on either side, yet He lives !!

"Then crucified with him are two robbers, one on the right hand, and one on the left" Matthew 27:38
What does all of this mean?

It means that if we want to share the good news message, we need to be like Messiah and know the Scriptures are full of promise. 

Please take the time to look at Matthew 4:4-10. Study chapters 11, 21 and 26 too. Check out Joshua 8:31, 1Kings 2:3 and Psalms 40:7 which says:

"It is written..."

It means we need to know in our heart of hearts just "Who is the One Called Jesus". Really know Him and follow His Torah teaching about God's Word. If you think He did away with it or shifted time with a new religion, you may not know it, but your Messiah is disguised like an Egyptian.

It means that it is time for all of us to repent and return in faith as believers and doers in line with God's covenant voice. It means we must repent, return to hear and do His word to walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that we can ready our lamp for our coming assignment. 

Many are called by God's Spirit to be set apart for His service. Do you hear it?

Almighty God is a sovereign God. He is a loving, unchanging and He has provided a way to offer you and all His salvation though the grace of forgiveness. Repent. You can choose His gift of life. Consider carefully what your own life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua then open the instruction manual for life. Do it now and start living life His Kingdom way!

And if you have already done this, ask God in faith to send His baptism of the Holy Spirit on you so that your life will shine as a witness to others with the love and light of Messiah as dark days ahead stare at our face.

Take a stand. Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow or a disaster, get it right with Him now!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
May God Bless as you seek your oil to light a fire pleasing to Him!

Shalom ya'll.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Little Known Prophecies of Asaph

Tomorrow is Yom Kippurim, it's the day of atonements now called Judgment Day.

Perhaps it's time we turned to listen to the cymbals of the prophecies of Asaph. They can be heard if we will just listen and we can be inspired with courage, spirit and hope.

In my Scripture studies I found Asaph means "gatherer."

1Chronicles 16:4-5 tells us Asaph was the chief Levite musician appointed by King David to minister before the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. He led with the music with cymbals. That tells us his assignment from David was to get the attention of all worshipers before the throne.

Before the Ark of the Covenant arrived in Jerusalem, it was located out in the hills of Gibeon, the same place The Lord asked Solomon was blessing he would ask and the answer was wisdom.

Today, Gibeon is also called al-Jib.
It's located a few miles due north of the Temple Mount 
in the 'so called' Palestinian territory.

If you'll take a moment to look at the satellite image [Google Maps] you will see what appears to be a small round, flat topped hill in the center of Gibeon. Perhaps, it is the Tabernacel spot. After that, when the Tabernacle arrived in Jerusalem the Ark was placed in it. Benaiah and Jahaziel were the two priests with trumpets before the ark of the covenant of God and David delivered a psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.

In the book of Joshua, we learn that was Gibeon was the very place where the sun stood still. When the Ark arrived in Jerusalem it remains the place where we can learn from Asaph the chief Levite:
"And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals" 1Chronicles 16:4-5
The cymbals are important, and Asaph's assigned Levite duty to record, to be a scribe is as well. That word for cymbal is the Hebrew word 'zakar," it means to be brought to remembrance, to recall. 2Chronicles 29:30 also tells us that in addition to his scribal duties, his assignment was to thank and praise Y-H-V-H, the God (Elohim) of Israel and that Asaph was a visionary and a prophet.

Let's look and consider some of the prophecies of Asaph's 12 psalms.  The first records a promise about the day of trouble, it is seen in Psalms 50...
"Call on me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
This is a cymbal warning. Asaph used cymbals, he does not play a harp or flute when he gives a warning from God to those that say... God did away with His instruction and teaching, it no longer applies. 

If we believe this about His instruction, Almighty God, Asaph tells us God calls us guilty:
But to the guilty God says, "What right do you have to declare my statutes, That you have taken my covenant on your lips, Seeing you hate instruction, And throw my words behind you?
To those that point a finger at the Torah instruction calling it old and done away with, Asaph records this...
"You give your mouth to evil. You harnesses your tongue for deceit. You sit and speak against your brother."

"You have done these things, and I kept silent. You thought that the "I AM" was just like you."

I will rebuke you, and accuse you in front of your eyes."
This is serious folks... READ IT AGAIN:
"You thought that the "I AM" was just like you." 

"I will rebuke you, and accuse you in front of your eyes." 

Many have thought Jesus that came as Messiah, hung the law of God, recorded by Moses on the cross. Yet, in Psalms 73, Asaph warns of the future lament of those that got lost in their church life journey and slipped as they 'thought' they were following the walk of Messiah when instead they were innocently lured by the teaching of wolves in sheep's clothing yet we are not to cast stones.

A remnant of believers are now awakening to the sound of Asaph's cymbals sounded near the Ark of the Covenant under the Mercy Seat at Jerusalem. They are being trimmed by the vinedresser.

They realize now that the Spirit of Almighty God is at work in the restoration of truth. They know because they sense it. They know in their hearts that despite the protests of a pastor even family or friends, the Word of God stands true, but they are troubled and sometimes overwhelmed at first as they consider the days of old, the years of ancient times. 

In their hearts they now know that the Sabbath, the Feasts and even God's instruction for a healthy menu are important to their Creator. They know because God said so and that the Bible, all of it is the walk of Messiah Yeshua, the way of the sanctuary.

Almighty God is changing hearts, He is pruning the olive tree as the vinedresser Yeshua spoke of in John 15:1-10. Please read it.

The vinedresser Holy Spirit of "I AM." We are not the vinedresser! The Lord God is and He is calling people by their heart stings and guiding people through the light of Scripture to repent so that they can return to His instruction for life near Him. They are the generation to come that Asaph wrote of realizing why Jesus said not one jot or tittle has passed from the Torah and whether they have read Asaph's prophecies or not, these words are true:
"Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped." Psalm 73:1-2

"For my soul was grieved. I was embittered in my heart. I was so senseless and ignorant. I was a brute beast before you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you. You have held my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory." Psalm 73:21-24
Asaph even tells us in Psalm 74 about the cup of redemption at Passover:
"For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth."

"For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red... in Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel."
The thing about the 74th Psalm that is so striking is the fact that Yeshua's earthly heritage was of the line of Judah. Simply put Jesus was a Jew. 

Asaph served in David's court when the Beit HaMikdash was constructed in Jerusalem before the Temple was built. Yet his prophecy was that it would be destroyed by fire. This happened twice, once in 586BC at the hands of the Babylonians and again in 70AD by the Roman Legions, after Yeshua taught there.

Asaph records the future inspired by the Holy Spirit:
"They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground." Psalm 74:7
Psalms 77 contains Asaph's prophecy of the incredible awakening to truth that many are experiencing today around the world. That global remnant awakening is that God's words stand forever, unchanged since the beginning and because of that people are returning to the ancient root of the tree of life, the Torah and connecting it to the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

People are coming to realize Yeshua wants us to remember His ways if we want to be like Him as a redeemed people. Bottomline, we need to do what Jesus did and walk like Him if we want to be like Him. Jesus aka Yeshua led and taught His disciples from the Torah, he never started a new religion. Instead, He taught the meaning of mountain top messages recorded by Moses. 

Asaph's prophecy also says:
"I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times."

"And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 
Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph."

"Thou lead thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron."
Asaph bangs his cymbals again in Psalms 78 as Ephraim, "the generation to come" to arise and not be a stubborn and rebellious generation any longer, but one that steadfastly turns back and repents 'before' the battle comes!!

We are not to be like the old Ephraim that turned away from the Torah and chose his own ways. We must not make the same mistake and refuse to walk in God's teaching and instruction...
"Give ear, O my people, to my law (Torah): incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 
We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know [them, even] the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his Torah..."
In Psalm 79, Asaph turns his prophetic words toward Jerusalem as he points to the disaster John recorded in the book of the Revelation of Yeshua:
"O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.

We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?

Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place. O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake."
We see the plea for salvation and forgiveness too:
"Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake."
As we turn the page on to Psalms 80, we can see Asaph's cry for our Savior's return, "the man of the right hand" that is also described in Mark 16:19, Acts 7:55-56, Romans 8:34, Hebrew 10:12 and Revelation 5:7:
"Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts...

Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou made strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."
Asaph declares the 'Day of Trumpets' in Psalm 81. It's the shofar day of the Lord's return. 

It is a day, an appointment with God that has been re-discovered today by a remnant, but Asaph also laments of those that still walk in their own ways:
"Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony...

Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 
So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!"
Asaph continues the lament we share if we hearken unto God as described in Psalms 82. It is for those that still walk in confusion. Asaph hints that it is this latter day walk in darkness that brings the shaking of the earth prophesied in Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11:
"They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course."
Finally, in Psalms 83 Asaph gives us the headlines that we all read today.

Our news stories tell us Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. The U.N. wants to divide the land, and the Palestinians fire rockets from Gaza all while the radical Islamic world leagues against the Jewish people:
"Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. 
They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah."
Asaph calls on God "to return" as when He journeyed as the fearful whirlwind pillar of fire in the wilderness exodus with Israel and the sojourners with them. Incredibly, Asaph calls for judgment so all will know His name is Y-H-V-H.
"O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Y-H-V-H."
What does this all mean?

It means if we hear the call of repentance we must heed the Spirit of God. We d need to be like Messiah and learn the Scriptures given to us by our Heavenly Father. Just look at Matthew 4:4-10. Study Matthew chapters 5, 11, 21 and 26 too. Messiah's response was like that in Joshua 8:31, 1Kings 2:3 and Psalms 40:7:

"It is written..."

It means we need to know "The One Called Jesus." Really know Him and His teaching which is the whole Bible, not just the back of it. 

It means that it is now time for all of us to repent and return as disciples, united in unison with God's covenant word. It means we must repent, return to hear and do His word if we are to walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that we can ready our lamps for our coming assignment in the day of The Lord as you are called by His Spirit to be set apart in His service.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving, unchanging God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation though grace. You can accept His gift of life and walk in Messiah's ways because you love Almighty God, not because you have to to earn redemption.

Consider carefully what your own life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask God's forgiveness and ask others. Accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua - Jesus Christ. Do it now and open His instruction manual for living life His way!

Today is the time. If you hear the call in your heart you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now! Hear what Yeshua taught Nicodemus:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
Ask God in faith to send His baptism of the Holy Spirit on you, in you so that your life will spiritually shine as a witness to others with the love and light of Messiah as dark days ahead stare us in the face. Take a stand for Almighty God.

May God Bless as you seek your oil to light a fire pleasing to Him!

Shalom ya'll.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What Is It About the Jots and Tittles?

"But if you don’t believe his writings,
how will you believe My words?”

"If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me."
The disciple John credits Yeshua with these words.

In my Scripture studies I found the Bible tells us creation was spoken by God. That is the first account in the beginning of the Torah. Yet, many today teach and preach that the Torah is the law that has been done away with... hung on the cross. Abolished and set aside bt Paul and no longer applicable.

But Paul writes this in Romans 3:31:

"Do we then nullify the Torah through faithfulness? May it never be! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah."

Praise God the Torah has not been done away with, 
Otherwise creation would cease to exist according to Jesus.

Here's a solemn promise:
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest jot or tittle shall pass away from the Law [Torah], until all is accomplished.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches {them,} he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses {that} of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
Guess what.... Heaven and Earth are still here!!

Creation has not passed away, the universe is still here. The earth, sun, moon and stars are the witness proof upholding the jots and tittles, the myriad witnesses of truth that Jesus loved, lived out and taught Torah as He kept the instruction of Father God out of love to show us all we can do the same! 

There's not one book, chapter or verse from the Apostles that ever says - He kept the law so you don't have to.

Yet, that's the concept from the blinders of some misguided pulpits.

My reply, if you say you believe in God, you must believe what He says. If you don't, what do you really believe?

Jesus aka Yeshua delivered a message straight from Heaven that 'the law' or rather the Torah, the teaching and instruction of God, has hte never-ending purpose to reveal the redemptive plan of God for mankind AND it has a great purpose for life in the Kingdom of God.

The covenant of this message started at Mount Sinai as shown in Exodus 24:3-11 and God is still looking for people that will respond to Him with one voice out of respect and love: “Everything the LORD has said we will listen to do.”

If you have read the Newer Testament you have read this: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" — Mark 9:7

Many people debate this, they also argue if Jesus (Yeshua) taught the Hebrew Bible. The debate is over. We know because there's no jot or tittle in Greek.

So just what is a jot and a tittle?

In Hebrew, the jot is a small marker the guide pronunciation and the tittles are the smallest markings, the crown points on top of many Hebrew letters that are essential for distinguishing Hebrew letters that look the same, except for the tittles. Understanding this can open the Bible to a deeper understanding.

Salvation is by grace and the Hebrew Bible points us to Messiah and His way of Kingdom living. We can never turn our back and “abolish” the Torah if our goal is to be a part of The Kingdom and share the need for the redemptive work of Yeshua.

Messiah Yeshua came and gave a greater meaning to the Torah. He revealed its ultimate purpose is to show us how we can live like Him honoring Torah, but that does not redeem or save us, only Yeshua saves, it's His namesake as the Son of God.

Yeshua taught that the love God will provide for doing Torah out of our love and teaching others the ways of Godly living leads to “great" standing in the Kingdom of God. Yeshua kept and keeps the Torah perfectly, He is the greatest in the Kingdom!

Just take a closer look at Matthew 5:19 to see this truth direct from the Master Torah teacher.

Incredibly, Yeshua also teaches us to focus on the spiritual reality of the commandments because He taught that true righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees. (Read Matthew 5:20)

WHOA... wait a minute, what's up with that statement from Jesus??

The hidden message here from the Master Rabbi is that the commandments of God, are Yeshua's commandments because He is Son of God, and God's way of living can only be kept properly when the Word of God is understood and lived out as a love offering to The Father, not a religious obligation. Keeping God's teaching as a "love offering" should be the goal of every true disciple of Yeshua, simply put:

“Everything the LORD has said we will listen to do.”

After all, as the children of God, we "GET TO DO" what God our Father asks us to do because we love Him.

What an honor it is to keep His heavenly teaching and instruction!

Yeshua wants us to enter into His Kingdom lifestyle and follow Him in the Father's commandments from the Heavenly vantage point of the grace, mercy and blessing that The Father gives. Yeshua is not asking us to seek merit bonus points from religious obligatory duty.

Jesus wasn't Catholic or Protestant, He was a Jewish Rabbi, he didn't teach Christian new religion replacement theology. He was Torah observant and wore a tallit as prescribed in Numbers 15 and Deuteronomy 22. If you doubt that you don't believe the story of the woman that was healed touching it described in Matthew 9. 

He instructed His disciples to follow the instruction in Leviticus 23:15-17. That Torah is embedded in Acts 1-2. He also celebrated wonderful Jewish traditions including Hanukkah which is shown in John 10 and the traditional Passover seder that the church relabeled as the last supper of bread and wine. He never stopped being Jewish, He lived out His faith and taught others to do the same just as Matthew 19:17 declares.

Like Abraham, we can be a friend of God by a walk in faith as a true friend. And as a friend of God, we get to walk in His instruction as a blessing, an offering of love not a way to earn credit for salvation in eternal life resurrection.

As a friend, we can walk in the word of God as our joy and not look at Torah as a heavy stone to carry as a legalistic burden for redemption.

The true Torah of God provides freedom because His instruction, His Torah defines sin and it shows us how much we must all rely on God for provision and not ourselves. We can't keep His word without The Lord God of Israel showing us the way and helping us daily by His Spirit writing it on our hearts.

That is the definition of the new covenant found in Jeremiah 31:31-34. We can't claim the new covenant is verse 31 alone.

We can never be found righteous in Torah observance, yet it is filled with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, to point us toward a pure and holy life "near" the mercy seat and the Most Holy palce that points to Yeshua.

Salvation cannot come from keeping the law because we cannot keep it perfectly, but Yeshua did. All others have sinned, we are like Adam, we are human and God knows that about each of us! Yet we can be justified in faith, that's why the letter writer we call Paul taught this:
“Therefore the law (Torah) has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, that we may be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says his purpose was to boldly proclaim the 'mystery' of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). This mystery is revealed among those jots and tittles of the Torah and all we need to do is open our eyes to see it: the jot and tittle connection is the Torah inscribed by God's servant Moses with the spirit of faith seen in God's friend Abraham.

The covenant given to Abraham provides the foundation to reveal God's plan to established a people and a blessing of the Promised Land like an endowment, a wedding gift to God’s people.

When the families of Israel and the strangers and sojourners that left the slavery of Egypt behind reached Mount Sinai, Almighty God betrothed them in covenant as He spoke the ten words, the wedding vows of His Kingdom with the Ten Commandments of instruction of how to walk in marriage covenant with Almighty God and with other people, yet they broke it so the prophet like Moses was promised. You can read that promise in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

The covenant is known as the ten words. Those Ten Commandments were written in stone by our Creator God and after that incredible event, Moses then began to inscribe the details of The LORD's instruction as the Kingdom constitution on a scroll and that scroll is called the Torah. It includes The Father's plan of redemption outlined in The Feasts of The Lord.

Yet, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the precious gift of God's covenant and the vows for His people, both Moses and Joshua climbed down and found 3,000 people in the act of idolatry, a prostitution before an Egyptian false idol, the golden calf.

Just 40 days earlier, those same people had all agreed to walk in covenant with God as their King, but much like Adam and Eve, they fell quickly and willfully broke their promise to keep the covenant of Almighty God.

There is a backstory. What began with the blood of five sacrifices that bound Abraham to God's covenant that was re-affirmed by the blood of lambs sprinkled by hyssop on their doorposts in Egypt (Exodus 12:22) and then again when Moses threw blood on the people (Exodus 24:8) had been broken. Yet, because God chose blood to legally bind Abraham's covenant, the Passover covenant and the "marriage" covenant that the LORD made with the Ten Commandments, a life blood would again be required for the restoration and binding of these covenants.

In God's mystery, without the gift of lifeblood, there can be no redemption from a broken covenant. Therefore, the son of man, the son of God - Yeshua offered His own lifeblood to renew and restore the broken covenants and defeat the power of the deceiver claimed in Eden, which is death.

We can all respond with our heart inscription of faith and walk just as Yeshua did, but the time is now. While we have no human ability to perfectly walk in all of the commandments of God at all times as Yeshua did, we can try out of love and accept the free will sacrifice of Yeshua Messiah to cover and atone for our transgressions.

When we do, we might see that the true goal of the Torah is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us just as the pillar of fire led Israel and the sojourners with them through the wilderness. If we want to walk in covenant, we can choose to follow what The Father asks us to do when He asks us to walk in loving obedience and demonstrate the promise of His eternal blessings though Messiah.

It is this Spirit-filled heart of obedience that Yeshua is seeking to magnify His teaching on the jots and tittles of the Torah when He speaks of “surpassing” the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). This message in Matthew from is amazing and it's one we can easily miss unless we know that as God’s children, we will be richly blessed by our walk in God's "teaching and instruction" (Torah).

It's our honor as God's children to get to choose to walk in God's teaching yet, it is NOT a means to His gift of salvation. The the Torah is NOT a religious checklist of do's or don'ts as a means to earn redemption or salvation in resurrection. The Torah is the God given opportunity to choose to walk in God's ways and return our love in reverent worship because our hearts are overwhelmed in joy and thanksgiving to give our offering in love for "The One" who redeems us.

Think of it this way: the Ten Commandments are the outline of Almighty God’s marriage covenant for life and relationship with Him. The two tablets of stone are the table of contents of the Torah teaching of God on how to live near Him.

On one tablet are the principles of how we are to honor God and on the other are the principles of how we are to honor our neighbors sojourning with us in God's world.

This is why Matthew reveals the story of a lawyer. Do you suppose that he was a man that studied and taught Roman law? Nah, no way, he was a Yeshiva teacher, a teacher of the Torah. He asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment in the law as a witness of Torah described in Matthew 22:35-40.

The response from Yeshua referenced the very heart of the message of the two tablets inscribed at Sinai as the two witnesses that sum up the whole of the Torah as the way of life.

Yeshua said that to love God is the first and greatest commandment. He spoke of the 'Shema" of the sermon of Moses shown in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It is first and greatest command in that it represents the heartbeat of every command. But also remember Yeshua said, “If you love me, keep my Commandments” John 14:15 and He said: "I and [my] Father are one" John 10:30.

There's a reason Yeshua went on to answer the man: "And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets.”"

The two tablets were given at the smoking, fiery pinnacle of Sinai and they remain as our covenant in how we are to honor God and walk in the ways and teaching of Messiah Yeshua. God's commandments were Yeshua's and they can be yours too, you can be one with Yeshua if you love Him as He was one with The Father, Yeshua say how: “If you love me, keep my Commandments.”

By God's mystery design, His desire is to have us rely on Him as we diminish ourselves, and so many aspects of the Torah are impossible for anyone to keep or understand without His presence. It seems as if we are in a two-thousand year half time if you will between the appearances of Messiah, yet the ten commandments remain, not only etched in stone but in our hearts.

Those that wait for His presence also wait for the Tabernacle's Feast worship service which the Prophets say will be reinstated in the millennial reign of Messiah.

The two days are ending soon, but halftime never ends a game and 2,000 years does not do away with God's covenant instruction.

Somehow in a great mystery this is a part of God's master plan. Just as there is a long wait between the Spring Feasts that show us Yeshua's first coming and the Fall Feasts that will engage at His second coming, God’s declaration for the restoration of Heaven on Earth is right on His schedule.

When we dig into it, we see that a huge part of the Torah's instruction provides detailed worship service protocols for the Levites as they were chosen as a gift by God to tend to the keeping of the Tabernacle and its altar services in the physical presence of the consuming fire of God Almighty God.

That Shekinah is not seen right now on Earth, that's easy to understand. Yet, that in no way takes away from the resurrection life of Yeshua as our Savior and mediator between God and mankind.

We tend to freak out a bit or shut down when we consider that the altar offerings will be seen again in the Kingdom of our Lord, but we need to realize that they will fulfill the same function they did long ago before the Pillar of Fire of the God of Israel. They will continue to give us all a very graphic and physical representation of the ultimate sacrifice offering of Yeshua and the atonement that is provided to cover sin by His blood.

The gift of the Levites and their services clearly points all of mankind 'forward to' the coming of Messiah and His Passover miracle of atonement death and the First Fruits resurrection in redemption.

That's why Ezekiel shows us the design of the Temple that will direct our hearts 'back to' what Messiah Yeshua has accomplished for the redemption of all.

We need to know that the word Torah means teaching, so we can see that the gift of the Levites is a teaching for both the natural and the adopted family of Israel.

We must remember Yeshua’s words that teach that righteousness is the work of the heart for our love for God and each other. That focus enables us to understand the commandments as a blessing so we be empowered to walk as Yeshua intended and show the world we love the Father.

John 14:31 shows us that Jesus summed this up for His disciples at the Passover as the twelve gathered: "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father."

"I do as the Father has commanded me, so that
the world may know that I love the Father."

Jesus also says...

“Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven.”

Out of cultural context, its hard to understand, but the grief and admonishment that Yeshua gave the whitewashed men He called graves was only because some of those rabbis had lost sight of the spirited heart of God's Torah and they became entangled in the barbed wire of their words, so much so that their traditions became greater than the Torah in their own hearts.

For them, the 'to do' and 'not to do' list became a weighty burden that they added to. They were fenced in under their own traditions because they ignored Moses' admonition and added to God's Word and built a wall.

The Torah never described a dividing wall between Israel and the nations. The people God calls to Himself as children of Israel were call to be priests to the nations. They were call to be distinct and set apart by Torah, but as Yeshua taught His disciples in Matthew 5, this was so they could be seen as a lamp, a light to the world.

After all, if you blend in with the crowd no one will notice the menorah. The lights are called to be a bright fire because the flames represent the manifest presence and Spirit of God.

Isaiah 11:2 tells us of them: "And the (1) spirit of YHVH shall rest upon him, the spirit of (2) wisdom and (3) understanding, the spirit of (4) counsel and (5) might, the spirit of (6) knowledge and of the (7) fear of YHVH."

The book of Revelation show us this at least four times it is VERY important. I pray they are a revelation to you:
Revelation 1:4 "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne." 
Revelation 3:1 "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." 
Revelation 4:5 "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." 
Revelation 5:6 "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
I pray we will be a bright light to the lost and show others how to walk in the light of Messiah, the living Torah as we accept the assignment to be a priest to the nations teaching others of redemption just like Paul taught:

"But of him are ye in Messiah Yeshua, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" 1Corinthians 1:30

Paul learned this from Isaiah's words:

Isaiah 42:21 “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will MAGNIFY the Torah, and make it honourable.”

What does this all mean?

It means that if you want to share this message you need to be like Messiah and know the Scriptures. Just look at Matthew 4:4-10. Look at chapters 11,21 and 26 too. His response was like that in Joshua 8:31, 1Kings 2:3 and Psalms 40:7:
"It is written"
It means we need to know "Who is the One Called Jesus". Really know Him and His teaching. It means that it is now time for all of us to repent and return as Believers, united in unison with God's covenant word. It means we must repent, return to hear and do His word if we are to walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment as you are called by His Spirit to be set apart for His service.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving, unchanging God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation though grace. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your own life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua - Jesus Christ. Do it now and open His instruction manual for living life His way!

Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
And if you have done this, ask God in faith to send His baptism of the Holy Spirit on you so that your life will spiritually shine as a witness to others with the love and light of Messiah as dark days ahead stare our nation in the face. Take a stand.

May God Bless as you seek your oil to light a fire pleasing to Him!

Shalom ya'll.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Mountain

Mount Nebo, Jordan

The Torah portion for the Sabbath of July 20, 2013 is Va'etchanan ואתחנן "I pleaded."

The readings are:

Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Prophets: Isaiah 40:1-26
Gospels: Luke 22:13-38
Matthew 4:1-11
Mark 12:1-44

In my Scripture studies I found Moses pleads with The Lord YHVH when he says:

"Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan that good hill country and Lebanon."
It is encouraging to learn time and again in my Scripture studies that there are great discoveries for us to be found within the Bible.

There beneath the surface of the words are hidden messages and themes that give us truth beyond the story as the Bible demonstrates its heavenly eternal design from the voice of God.

It is indeed as the Proverb declares, the honor of a King to search them out.
"[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings [is] to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
Many of God's deep messages are often missed in the narrative of God's word, yet it encourages al God believers to "search out a matter" because we can't just read the Bible, we have to study it, search it out and ask our Father to reveal His glory within.

This is the “requirement” for every one seeking truth and the light of God's message of life.

Yet, if we're not diligent in our walk of life, 
we will not allow God's word to give the life He intended

If I may, I must stray off topic for a second, that's what happened to the extreme on June 27th as our nation's Supreme Court ruled (5-4) to wipe away a part of DOMA, our nation's Defense Of Marriage Act. Our judges forgot about God’s rule.

Now, more than ever, our nation continues to move away from God's word, so it's important to consider God's wisdom and lift Him up in praise, not our court acting as the Daughter of Babylon, but for what He has given in the wisdom hidden in the scroll that only Yeshua is worthy to unseal and reveal from the throne.

If we will just unroll the scroll this Sabbath day that is made for us (Mark 2:27), we will see there on the lamb's skin that the scribes placed a Vav on each corner of the column nailing the word of God in the Torah.

This reminds us that Moses wrote of Messiah Yeshua (John 5:45).

He is the lamb of God, the living Torah whose name reveals the gift of salvation as the stakes driven in the outstretched hands of Yeshua joined heaven and earth through His blood on the wood almost 2,000 years ago.

It was Moses whose likeness is carved and chiseled in marble above the Supreme Court entrance that wrote these words:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24
The Bible gives us these words from the beginning yet the U.S. Supreme Court order and judgment states:
"What has been explained to this point should more than suffice to establish that the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution."

"It imposes adisability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper."

"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages."

"The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is affirmed. It is so ordered."
The U.S. Supreme Court re-ordered the federal Defense of Marriage Act, when in a majority passed up Congress and was signed into United States law in 1996.

The Nation Journal's Tim Grieve reports:
"Dissenting from this morning's opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Antonin Scalia – as expected – holds nothing back.

In a ripping dissent, Scalia says that Justice Anthony Kennedy and his colleagues in the majority have resorted to calling opponents of gay marriage "enemies of the human race.""
Read the court's opinion, the 5-4 majority says that the supporters of the Marriage Act make an attack and act on malice to demean, disparage, humiliate and injure same-sex couples. It says that DOMA imposed inequality, branded gay people as ‘unworthy’ and ‘humiliated’ their children.

Whose word do you choose?

Do you know What the Supreme Court's decision means... ?

We know from the Exodus account that the children of the God of Israel were there in the wilderness 40 years just as we too now live in the diaspora of the world 40 Jubilee years after Messiah's ministry.

And today, just like Israel, many chose to refuse to enter the promised Kingdom.

In fact, we prove in our own manmade laws that we too want to turn away from the Kingdom's constitution, God's life teaching - the Torah.

The Bible's narrative tells us that Moses died and did not lead the host into the Promised Land, yet if we quietly dig deep into the word, we can see the incredible imagery that Moses death is really a blessing for Israel because it foreshadows Messiah who too died before the role of King was fulfilled.

Yet, Messiah's death and resurrection is God's gift of life. He is the Priest King and He is coming to restore the Kingdom of God on earth. His rule will be God's teaching and instruction.

Yet, at first it seemed, that Yeshua's death was meaningless to the disciples and the multitudes that believed on Him as King Messiah. It seemed that way as well to the crippled, sick and blind that He healed as they mourned over the cross. They were utterly distraught because they had not yet seen the pattern of God's glorious plan in His appointment days with mankind.

And like many of us today, they were not looking to the meaning of the wave offering of the barley sheaf harvest at First Fruits three days later, so they did not realize God's plan through Messiah's tribulation was restoration and resurrection by God's quickening even though Yeshua repeatedly taught them this.

They were not listening... they may have heard the words but they were still deaf to the quiet voice of God, but only for a little while. He did heal them, but they had to first see Him in resurrection to believe. They became open and available, like Peter (Simon Barjona) to the teaching direct from heaven and not from mortal man (see Matthew 16:17).

The problem was that they could not perceive that the story of Moses' death on the mountain had been in the Torah for 1,500 years prophesying of the suffering of our Messiah and the timing of God's restoration plan that the Kingdom of Heaven was not to be fully established on Earth at His first coming.

The honor for Moses was greater than they perceived as well. While Moses was not to enter the promised land before his time, he would receive the mind bending honor to be resurrected and restored to see Messiah on the mountain during the appointed time on God's personal calendar.

We can see this in the account described in Matthew 17 if we just turn the pages and seek God's revelation there. This story is real, not a vision or dream:
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." Matthew 17:1-9

Do you see it?

Our Savior brought Moses home, He brought him in and gave him a great reward acknowledging him before three witnesses and The Father! Moses entered through the mercy and grace of our Messiah. The words of Matthew point us to this happening after six days, it seems on the day Hoshana Rabah, the 7th day of Tabernacles, the 21st of Tishri. That's less than two weeks away.

It's a holy day, a Sabbath, here's why:

Hoshana Rabah means "the great salvation." Another way of saying it is Hosanna. In Hebrew, “Hoshiah Na! Save now! It's what the crowds were shouting when Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt. Matthew's account points us to Hoshana Rabah as the day that the atonement for Moses was delivered. It was after the 6th day that Moses received deliverance and victory from his grave 'outside' the land to be seen by Peter, James and John as witnesses with Messiah Yeshua on the mountain 'in' the Promised Land.

This after the 6th day points to Hoshana Rabah as "the Great Salvation" day. It was the day of the good verdict for Moses and it will be the same for those inscribed in the book of life acknowledged by the Lamb of God shown in Revelation: "The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels (messengers)." Revelation 3:5

Check out the story in Matthew, look at the themes. Jesus showed Moses he too would enter in and be acknowledged before His Father and his messengers (disciples) because his judgment was only until the Glory of Jesus was witnessed.

The Spirit is moving today and teaching us that if we just connect the dots and jots from Torah to Revelation, we can see the deep meaning that God reveals Messiah from cover to cover. But we need His Spirit to see it.

Matthew's witness of words tells us that "after six days" Yeshua privately took Peter, James and John to "a mountain apart" and Moses, along with Elijah came and appeared right before them. And today, here we are at the 6th day, 6,000 years from Adam and two days (2,000 years) after Messiah standing and looking up just before the millennium day of Messiah King on Mount Zion.

In the theme of the entire Bible, even the names we are given within "the mountain" story of Matthew are important if we just look at them. Did you notice for example that James, the half brother of Jesus is actually the Hebrew name Jacob or Yaakov? His namesake became "Israel" when God blessed him with his new name which means "God prevails." You have received this blessing too if you have the faith of Abraham who "looked forward" to Messiah, but to see its importance you must know your identity in God's eyes as you "look back" to the work of Messiah Yeshua.

When you do you will realize its stories are there for you.

I'm not sure, but perhaps Shakespeare understood this blessing in the true identity of God's children when he wrote that: "there is a history is all men's lives."

But this we can know, Jesus’ true Hebrew name is “Yeshua.” It means “salvation.” John's Hebrew name is Yochanan and this name means "Yahovah is a gracious giver" and Simon Peter is Shimown Kepah or "heard the rock." Interestingly, Shimeon or Simeon is the origin of the name Simon and he was the second son of Jacob, none other than the man God called Israel. Finally, Moses or Mosheh means "drawn" and Elijah's name gives us the clarion message that "Yah is God."

There were five there on the mountain top that day. It just so happens that five is a cardinal number, it is the property of a number that a mathematical set has in common with all sets that can be put in one-to-one correspondence with it. If you are wondering what that has to do with the names of those on the mountain, consider this about the poetry of their names:

The five at the mountain top where there as Moses was "drawn" from death when he "heard the rock" of "Salvation" because "God prevails" and not only is "Yahovah a gracious giver" of life but indeed "Yah is God" our covenant redeemer.

This is the story line of the names of these five on the mountain where God's light shown from His cloud of Glory on the seventh day, a Sabbath. After all, the record tells us they were there after the sixth day and throughout time, before Rome skewed our calendar keeping by naming each day to the planets according to the mythology of their false worship, the days of the week had always been tied to a countdown to the Sabbath rest by a people God called Israel despite the fact that those around them insisted on dividing the days of the week in honor of the seven planets. Perhaps that is why we see this Jewish man, Matthew describe the event as "on the day after the sixth day."

And if we connect a few more jots and tittles from the Torah, we can see that Simon Peter wanted to make Yeshua, Moshe and Elijah none other than a tabernacle booth, a sukkah. Does this remind you of the Feast of Tabernacles?

It should.

Does the story now remind you of the mountain of Moses?

It can and will, if we just look, because we know that God told Moses to go up on the mountain where he would be buried and hidden by none other than God Himself for a reason revealed by the glorious light of Messiah. You see, even this is tied to Moses as his face shone whenever he approached near to God on Mount Sinai.

Don't you suppose that Yeshua knew that exact mountain top place in the mountainous strip of land just west of the river in Jordan? After all, He is the creator and put it there in the beginning. (See John 1:1-5)

Mount Nebo, the mountain of Moses is about 75 miles from the Galilee. In the book of Jude, we learn that Michael ("who is like God") argues with Satan about where Moses is buried. Have you ever wondered what Satan’s keen interest in Moses’ burial spot was all about? Perhaps he wanted to prevent his appointed meeting with Messiah just as he wants to stop yours.

We know the Bible tells us that Moses was given the right to view the Promised land from atop Mount Nebo. Even today on a clear day you can see Jerusalem out to the west from its peak. So might we connect the dots, or rather the jots? If we do, we can just imagine that the deceiver wanted to defile the grave and steal Moses away so that he would not meet Yeshua for his appointed time - - to be drawn to arise on the glorious day of Messiah's transformation in light. But the fact is, Moses did meet Messiah at the appointed time, he meet the King just as God planned. What an honor it will be to be there in a future 7th Day of Tabernacles to hear the story from:

Yeshua, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James and John!!

The Sabbath and Feast days are the appointments of God and we can and must learn something very valuable about their purpose as they reveal the plan of God, but we need to take an active part and participate in them week after week, season after season and year after year. Yes, it is critical that we learn of others who served near God and our Savior, but what is critical to understand is how we are serving Him today. Scripture is not just written to give us a view of history, but it is there to give us wisdom and understanding, to give us the water of life.

The appointments of God, the "moedim", are Gods Feasts and they give us an ongoing lesson to be applied in lives today. They help keep us on His path and His calendar because we don't want to miss an appointment with God. Like Moses, we need to be in the right place at the right time if we want to meet up with our Savior in His Glory face to face.

The Torah repeatedly tells us that God wants us observe His appointed times. The Fall Feast Days of The Lord are coming our way and we need to be planning and preparing for them. Praise God for the fact that He is calling people to Him, to be apart from the ways of the world at this time.

If you are a lost sheep, it's time to be found in Messiah because keeping and honoring the seven Feasts has lost its meaning for many Believers, so it's time to adjust our attitude and synchronize our calendar with God's 7 point plan that are seen in the seven seals of the scroll. (Look again at Revelation 5:1-7)

God's teaching and instruction (Torah) is for our direct benefit and His word is alive and well today, all of it - no matter what our highest court says. His Sabbath and His Sabbath Feasts are important to us as holy convocations because they are very important to God. He tells us this time and time again throughout the Torah scroll, Messiah's Bible. And Messiah's life on Earth proved it as He literally lived out the Spring Feasts as the humble suffering servant... and He is returning soon during a future Fall Feast appointment as King with the scepter of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Before His resurrection, Yeshua's body was the tent, the temporary flesh dwelling of YHVH on Earth described by John 1:14 (NIV) "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Yet, 40 days after His resurrection, when He ascended in the majesty cloud next to the two witnesses, His earthly physical presence was transfigured radiant within in the cloud, the Shekinah glory of YHVH.

This was the reality that Peter, James and John saw in a preview described three times in the Gospels (see Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28–36). Also, 2 Peter 1:16–18 refers to it.

Although they are not named, do you suppose that Moses, and Elijah were not only on the mountain of transfiguration but perhaps they were the two men in white described in Acts?
Acts 1:6-11 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. “

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
What does this all mean?

It means we need to know "Who is the One Called Jesus?" It means too that it is now time for all of us to repent and return as Believers, united in unison with God's covenant word. We must repent, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation though grace. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your own life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua - Jesus Christ. Do it now and open His instruction manual for life!

Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
Get ready. Time is running out.

And if you have done this, ask God in faith to send His baptism of the Holy Spirit on you so that your life will spiritually shine as a witness to others with the love and light of Messiah as dark days ahead stare our nation in the face. Take a stand.

Shalom ya'll.