Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mystery of the Father's Will

Shalom Fellow Israelite,

Let us follow our Heavenly Father’s righteous justice in reconciling Adam back to Himself through Yeshua His Son.  Yeshua’s role in all that took place two thousand years ago was marked by His obedience to the will of His Father, while the Father’s Spirit preformed the rest.  Paul mentions the mystery of His (the Father’s) will: “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself” (Ephesians 1:9).  “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to Elohim (the Father) through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life, (that is the Father’s life that was in Yeshua).  And not only that, but we also rejoice in Elohim through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11).
Those who deem that reconciliation to our Heavenly Father can be attained through good works do not understand the laws of redemption, the gospel, or their own unrighteousness. 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:10-12).  Earlier Paul quotes the Psalms: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after Elohim.  They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one’" (Romans 3:10-12; Psalms 14:3; 53:3). 

When the Creator breathed His Spirit into Man, Adam was called “son of Elohim” (see Luke 3:38).  However, after Adam’s rebellion his description changed to “son of disobedience”: “And you, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (ref. Ephesians 2:1-2).  The Creator could not rescind the law that was given to Adam in the beginning, that if he partook of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” he would surly die (see Genesis 2:17). Adam, therefore, must die.  There is no way out of Satan’s kingdom and the laws of “sin and death” unless the Almighty fulfills His own requirements to forgive and reconcile Man back to Himself.  In accordance with YHVH’s righteousness and justice, He made a way whereby Man can return to the Garden of His delight.  Thus it required another law, mentioned by the apostle Paul: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (ref. Romans 3:27).

Since Adam’s original spirit life was from the Father’s Spirit, only the Father could reconcile that corrupted (spirit) life back to Himself. But He had to do it according to His own laws that governed redemption.  Now, because Adam not only had a spirit but was also of the earth (earthy) - a natural man (see 1 Corinthians 15:47) - the Spirit life of the Father had to take on flesh and blood as only a kinsman redeemer (Second Adam) could redeem his lost brother (the First Adam).  Therefore, Yeshua had to be born of the Spirit, the water, and the blood:  “This is He who came by water and blood – Yeshua the Messiah; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth...  (verse 7 is not in the orginal)*  And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.  (ref. 1 John 5:6; 8).
Having to identify with this “earthly” and “natural” brother, Yeshua had to be born of a human mother. If He were wholly divine His natural body could not die.  However, after His resurrection His body was no longer subject to corruption. He was incorruptible in soul and body. Similarly we too, after the resurrection, will receive an immortal body, (see 1 Corinthians 15: 51-53).  

Again, the life ‘resident’ in Yeshua was not the defiled spirit of the Adamic man.  He could not have had the spirit/life (in His blood) of any natural human male. If He had, He would not have been the perfect lamb for the kind of sacrifice that YHVH required in order to inaugurate the New Covenant. “He died to make atonement for our sins, to expiate our guilt, to satisfy divine justice” (from Matthew Henry’s commentary).  What is the divine justice that was satisfied?  Paul the apostle in his commentaries, had a profound understanding of the judicial aspects into the redemption of Man (Adam), that the righteous requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (ref. Romans 8:4).
Shabbat Shalom
*See Aramaic English New Testament, by Andrew Gabriel Roth p. 658; footnote 16.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Shalom Fellow Israelite,                                                     

The powers which are being unleashed in Nature, through earthquakes and volcanoes, are gripping the world's attention at this time.  One can only speculate as to the Creator's reasons for setting in motion these natural forces.  Nevertheless, YHVH uses every means at His disposal to fulfill His prophetic purposes.

Earlier in the week, I sent out a little note that connected the ash over Europe to the Holocaust.  Another thought that arrested me was the connection of the Hebrew word for ashes – epher – to the name Ephraim.  In Psalm 80, the Psalm of Asaph (of the same root as Yoseph – to gather), mention is made of a vine that Elohim took out of Egypt. It was a prosperous vine that had spread its boughs, but later, at YHVH's rebuke, it was cut down and burned with fire, obviously turning it into ashes.  The House of Joseph, along with many from the other tribes, has been scattered throughout the earth like the fine dust of ashes.  Yet in spite of this condition, there are still some living sparks smoldering in these ashes, so that when the Ruach blows on them, the embers will ignite and become a flame, in fulfillment of Obadiah's prophecy: "The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame" (verse 18).

When Abraham was pleading with YHVH for the sake of Sodom, he said of himself:  "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to YHVH" (Genesis 18:27 emphasis added).  May we, of the Abrahamic seed, see ourselves in the same light!  Our hearts are saddened by the ongoing controversy among the redeemed remnant of Israel.  Apparently as of late, some Messianic leaders have been setting up 'boundaries' of identification between Jewish, Ephraimite, and Gentile believers, using external forms of dress and styles of worship as criteria, rather than taking the Father's perspective and looking at the heart.  Bitter accusations, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, strife, and contention are the demonic characteristics that are kindling feuds of strange fires in the House of Elohim.  What is even sadder is that this has been intensifying during the time of the Counting of the Omer.  Instead of keeping the inner eyes on Yeshua (the Omer), and on the awesome revelation of what our Heavenly Father accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection, poisonous gases are being spewed into the spiritual atmosphere, and are polluting relationships. These anti-Messiah spirits are keeping YHVH's House (the House of Jacob) divided.  These are the same spirits that were at work in Cain, who lashed against his brother with venom and snuffed out his life, and in Esau, who also hated his brother and desired to kill him. 

We who have received the Holy Spirit, which defines all of us as 'Messianic,' must take personal responsibility and use the gifts that come with the Spirit.  One of the gifts is "discerning of spirits" (ref. 1 Corinthians 12:10). This gift helps us to not only recognize someone else's spiritual condition, but mainly our own.  If we have any maturity at all, we must realize by now that "our warfare is not against flesh and blood" (ref. 2 Corinthians 10:4).  Yeshua came to reside in a people who would cooperate with Him to tear down fortresses and high places that are exalting themselves against the knowledge of Elohim. He came to establish His righteousness, peace, and joy, which is the work of restoring the Kingdom of Elohim in the House of Jacob. If we truly repent, in dust and ashes, for cooperating with the nature of the other kingdom, YHVH will give us "beauty [pe'er] for ashes [epher], the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they [we] might be called trees [literally oaks] of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, that He might be glorified" (Isaiah 61:3 emphasis added).
Shabbat Shalom

Friday, January 4, 2013

Like a Heart

Shalom Fellow Israelite,  

Early one morning this past week, as Rimona and I went on our  exercise/prayer walk, we happened to notice down the road a driver of a large truck trying to coax a dog into his vehicle. Before we go any further, let me say that in Hebrew the word for dog is “kelev” – if this word is broken down (ke-lev) it means “like a heart” – hence the title of this article.

The animal didn’t budge, and instead ran into a field.  We also noted that this dog’s behavior was somewhat odd; he seemed to be confused as if lost.  When we approached the field in which he took refuge, he came our way. It was then that I realized that, he was a rather young specimen of what I had concluded to be a German shepherd.  He didn’t have a collar and didn’t seem dangerous, so I got down and beckoned him to come to me, which he did, enjoying the petting and the “loving”.  From that point on he walked with us for almost an hour.

Arriving home I realized that we would have to part ways, which was very difficult for me because in my heart I really wanted to keep this young creature.  My father loved dogs, and so I was brought up with that same affection and positive attitude toward them.  However, my attachment to these animals had always resulted in tragedy.  Some were hit by cars, others shot, stolen, or just disappeared. Each loss left a deep wound and sorrow in my heart. 

After college I left home and never again owned a dog.  When I was in my forties, and had been a believer for ten years or so, I happened to be in a meeting that was being addressed by a believing counselor.  He asked each one of us to describe his or her emotions.  When it came to me, I could only express two - a deep feeling of sorrow and/or anger.  In response he inquired if I had experienced loss in my life such as the death of a loved one, even of a pet.  Choking up I said “yes,” and shared with the group the above-mentioned experiences. 

Needless to say, I fell in love with my new acquaintance.  However, Rimona is not so much of an animal lover, and what’s more the house we’ve rented has just been built and does not belong to us.  So I let the idea go and closed the door on the dog.  About an hour later, when I arrived at the local grocery store, there he was, my newly found (and lost) friend. The proprietor’s son was giving him some water, so I shared with him my own encounter with the dog, and he filled me in with some more information.  Apparently the young canine was a pure bred Belgium shepherd, whose worth was in the thousands (NIS).  The Israeli Army uses this type of dog for tracking, sniffing bombs etc.  And so, even though Rimona was somewhat reluctant, sensing my desire she agreed that we couldn’t just let this dog roam around.

Since our yard is mostly a pile of dirt at this point, I brought the new family member into the house.  It didn’t take long before the house smelled like a kennel, though the bath option was still a possibility.  I spent the rest of the day with my friend.  Towards evening we thought that it would be wise to take him to a local vet and have him checked, especially for a chip, but the one vet we called didn’t answer and for some reason we didn’t pursue any other, although there were several more listed in our area.  During the short time that this pup was in our house I could see that he was very well trained and obedient, which made me think that it might have been a lost army dog. 

And so, not being an ordinary member of the canine family, it was wonderful to host this creature. I could see why he was so expensive.  That night I slept on the couch, and our no-name friend lay on the floor next to me, without a single problem.  Occasionally he would put his chin on my arm, just to see that I was still there and to receive a reassuring pat. 

The morning found our house reeking. It was obvious that we could not keep the dog as our outdoors was not suitable, not to speak of the fact that we hadn’t inquired yet as to whether he had a chip or not. To my sorrow I felt that I would have to give him up.  I was proud of Rimona, though, as she was still willing for me to work out a favorable solution.  We knew that we would have to make further inquiries as to this dog’s status, and so found out that a place for that very purpose did exist in our area. 

On our way there my little pet sat in the back as if he had been trained to travel in a vehicle.  When we arrived, the first thing I wanted to know was about the chip.  Yes, he had one, but there was no information on it.  So again I had to swallow hard and “give up” the possibility of perhaps keeping him. We signed a form with our information on it and left.  At first I could feel the deep inner sorrow that started surfacing, but suddenly it just lifted off, giving way to peace and joy that fused the “fracture” in my heart. Rimona, identifying with my grief, turned to me and said that she felt like crying. But I was able to share with her what I had just experienced.  We prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and asked Yeshua what that was all about.  The answer came back in a most amazing way.  While in the past all my dogs were taken from me, this time I had to willfully and freely “give up” what I thought could have become my pet.  Once I let go of this early childhood affection Abba healed that broken area of my heart.

About an hour later we received a phone call from a very happy man.  We then learned that the dog’s name was “Tony” and that he had been stolen a few days before.  The owner was one of the local veterinarians that Rimona had nearly called up the previous evening.  Later in the day we stopped by to see Tony and to meet the doctor, who also explained why his and the dog’s were not registered with the number of the chip, and that it was only later in the day that he sent his information to the data base. But we knew that had this divinely arranged circumstance happened in any other way the results may not have been the same.  Thank you Abba for your loving help!
Blessings upon your week,  Unfortunately one year later, Tony was out for a walk with his owner and saw something under a bush, it happened to be one of the most deadly of Israel’s snakes.  Tony curiosity caused him to get to close and the snake bit him and a few minutes later he died.  

P.S. Once again we are in a season in which the nations are being brought down to the “valley of decision,” and as we know the ultimate outcome will be found within the pages of the prophets of Israel.  It therefore behooves us not to get caught up in all the world’s politics and machinations, but rather go on to present ourselves “as alive from the dead” to both believer and non-believer. The “good news” of what Abba has already accomplished for humanity (“Adam”), is our deliverance from the rule, reign and dominion of Sin and Satan through the “flesh body of His son.” This truthful maxim must be our prime objective every day.