Sunday, May 20, 2007


April 16, 1999

"The earth is YHVH's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein." (Psalms 24:1). This past week we went to a burial of a neighbor (Tzvika). His daughter is in the same class as our daughter. He was 47 years old.

The gathering at the cemetery was large; people from our settlement and from the surrounding towns (both Arabs and Jews) were present, and of course close family.

As we walked down the side of the hill towards our destination I looked up and with the graveyard in the foreground, I saw the panoramic view of the green rolling hills of Samaria. Large stones and olive trees dotted the gently descending slopes down toward the long Sharon valley below, with its towns and cities sewn into the patchwork of green and brown fields. The misty blue of the Mediterranean Sea was like a velvet frame along the boarder of the land. For some reason the view had a special meaning at that moment, as the white-shirted burial team took the body from back of a plain gray colored service van. Tzvika's wife, who had been holding on to her 12 year old daughter's hand, put her arm around her and drew her into a close embrace. The crowd then pressed in around them, as we all shuffled slowly into this small cemetery. I saw the mayor of our settlement pause briefly, as he passed the large granite stone bearing the Hebrew letters of his 19-year-old daughter. She had been killed two years previously in a car accident. There were other epitaphs, engraved in stone, lining the small and relatively new burial ground; for instance, the two soldiers tragically killed along with 71 others, when the two helicopters kissed in mid air, and plummeted to the ground burning to death the fear-filled, screaming soldiers inside. As I stood next to my wife, behind a wall of assorted colored clothes, I could not see the actual entombment. However, having attended such sad events in the past, the sounds were very familiar; the weeping of the mourners, the whispers of those that had gathered, who perhaps hadn't seen one another since the last occasion, like a Brit, a Bar-Mitzva, or a wedding. Soon I could hear the Rabbi chanting the prayer as the cement lid made its soft drum-like sound deep in the ground, closing the body into its final resting place. Then the shovels, manned by Tzvika's teary-eyed and somber friends, hurriedly scratched the stone-laden earth back to its original place. The hollow thuds of the first few throws left the feeling that it was almost over.

I happened to look to my right, and there was a man standing unobtrusively in the back, with a beautiful wreath in his one hand, wiping his eyes with the other, trying to hold back from crying as he took a deep breath. I knew that he was an Arab from a near-by village. I couldn't help but observe him, in his sorrow. Finally, not able to hold back my own deep feelings of compassion for him, I walked over and put my arm around him. He was surprised at first, but as our eyes met I said to him in Hebrew, "he was your good friend". As he gathered his composure, he replied in a broken voice: "No, he was like my brother. We were very close, he would come to my house in Kalkilya (not a friendly town towards the Israelis), and I would come to his house here in Alphe Menashe." As we stood together silently watching the last shovels of earth being scraped into place over his "brother" and my neighbor, I was struck by a sudden reality. With this in mind I said to him: "Do you see that mound of earth? Does it belong to the Jew? Does it belong to the Arab?" As we both stared at the reality, I continued my thought "I think here lies the answer." He nodded in agreement. As the last mourner laid his shovel down and the people began to embrace the bereaved family, that little mound of earth seemed to say back to us, both Jew and Arab, "Ultimately you all belong to me."

As we walked up to Tzvika's widow to pay our condolences, she made a very interesting observation and comment. "Only now in his death did he bring together so many who had broken relationships." We were some of the last ones to leave the site. As we silently returned, walking up the hill with our backs to the scenery, my thoughts were on the futility of our conflicts over this earth and our pride of who we might think we are: Serbs, Bosnians, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans. Where are the Moahbites, Ammonites, or Romans? The earth, generation after generation, still holds the answer, "you all belong to me and I belong to YHVH".

A part of the prayer that had been chanted over the grave, goes something like this: "May his resting place be in the Garden of Eden - therefore may the Master of mercy shelter him in the shelter of His wings for eternity, and may He bind his soul in the bond of Life. Hashem is his heritage, and may he repose in peace on his resting place" (Siddur). Ironically, it was out of the earth that Elohim created man, and it was in the garden of Eden that Elohim pronounced man's ultimate destiny: "Till you return to the earth, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3:19). But this is not the end of the story, Yah'shua the Messiah of the Jews and of the Arabs and of anyone else who has the faith to believe, rose from that mound of dirt, death did not hold him, because of the greatness, power, and faithfulness of the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator of this earth, and the one about whom the Psalmist declares. "The earth belongs to YHVH, and the fulness there of."


P.S. "YHVH, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how transient I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You; Certainly every man in his best state is but vapor. Selah (Psa. 39:4-5).

Friday, May 11, 2007


March 19, 1999

"For when Elohim made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.' And so, after he had patiently endured, Abraham obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all disputes. Thus Elohim, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for Elohim to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Yah'shua, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:13-20).

Is it possible for Elohim to lie? If it is then we have no hope, and our faith has nothing to draw from. Elohim made one oath, and that was to Abraham. This oath is the testing ground of Elohim's very own nature. If He does not remain faithful to this promise, He must relinquish His claim to holiness, righteousness, and faithfulness.

According to the above quoted scriptures, there are two immutable, unchanging, permanent things that Elohim has ordained, predestined, sealed and finalized, and they are: "blessing I will bless and multiplying I will multiply you [Abraham]." Elohim's faithfulness to this covenant is our hope, which is an anchor for our soul. There are many souls today who are drifting on the sea of the doctrines of men and of demons (lying spirits). They make a claim to the truth, but in the same breath make Elohim out to be a liar. Elohim, knowing the pride of men, made an oath and swore by His own name or nature, so that the promise could not fail. One of the most hotly contested truths in the body of the Messiah today, is this mystery of Elohim's sowing, or the multiplying of the natural seed of Abraham. Did Elohim multiply and bless the seed of Abraham (father of multitudes), Isaac (son of promise) and Jacob (a chosen nation), or did He throw out that idea for a more spiritual one?

Our faith, along with the understanding, must face or come to grips with these two perpetual things, so that it (that is, our faith), together with hope and trust, may be encouraged. Many are weak today because their souls have been told that Elohim is not interested in the nephesh (soul and body, or natural man), but just in spiritual things. I have even heard sermons preached on the soul having to die. This kind of nonsense comes from the Hellenistic mind-set of Platonic philosophy, but the beauty of the Hebraic thought is that Elohim so loves me (spirit, soul, and body), that He gave His life to save, redeem, and restore my soul, not to kill it. He had to resurrect my dead spirit, and now my spirit is alive in Him but hidden in His, and He has become my life (see Col. 3:1-3). However, my soul could not draw life from a dead spirit, so it tried to satisfy its needs from the spirit of this world, through materialism (lust of the eyes) pleasures (lust of the flesh) and success (pride of its life). But now, through the Gospel, the indwelling Spirit of Elohim and the redemptive blood of the Messiah (Lamb), my soul, by obedience of faith inherited from my father Abraham, is learning that it has been set free from its bondage and slavery to the "law" of sin and death.

Praise YHVH for the testimonies of those who believed Elohim, a small list of whom can be found in the book of Hebrews chapter 11. Just to make mention of one of them, "by faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11). Sarah trusted in the faithfulness of Elohim to stay true to His word. Thus, she conceived and experienced the power of resurrection life. Today we have the privilege of being doubly blessed, as we see the faithful testimony of Yah'shua, Messiah of Israel, and the greatness of the day of Jezreel (Elohim will sow). We are a testimony, an example, a witness, a first fruit of the harvest of this Abrahamic seed that Elohim has been sowing for over 4,000 years. "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, `You are not My people,' there it shall be said to them, `You are sons of the living Elohim.' Then the children of Judah [House of Judah] and the children of Israel [House of Joseph] shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the earth, for great will be the day of Jezreel" (Hos.1:10-11)!

Those who have ears to hear and eyes to see are those who have been chosen from this generation to bear witness to the faithfulness of the Elohim of Israel. So, if we are of the seed (heirs of promise), let us sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb: "Just and true are Your ways" (Rev.15:3). "Who is like You, O YHVH, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation" (Ex. 15:11-13).

If we are to traverse this wilderness and reach the final destiny of our inheritance, we need to be encouraged by believing that Elohim has been faithful to the oath that He made to Abraham, "surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." In this way our souls will have an anchor of hope for the future, and an encouragement for the present. May we, along with the Psalmist, declare that we have not forgotten our Elohim, nor have we dealt falsely with His covenant. (ref. Ps. 44:17).


I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly (Ps. 40:10).