Monday, December 19, 2011

New Covenant Israel

Looking back at recent history, some of us may remember the move of the Spirit that took place in the late sixties and early seventies. YHVH's grace raced through the denominational churches and caught thousands of people up in His Holy Spirit. This move of Elohim created a hunger in a lot of hearts for the whole counsel of YHVH, which included the Torah and the books of the prophets. Many of these Bible believers began to identify to the present Jewish nation and Zionism. In doing so some also started to search out their own Jewish roots. Ultimately this evolved to the understanding of the prophetic destiny of the House of Jacob and its division into two houses, two families. But it was not only Christians that were visited by the Spirit; Jews also began to accept the New Covenant blood of their Messiah Yeshua, which then progressed into the Messianic Jewish movement.

In the course of time the Messianic body split into many fragmented groups, with a variety of definitions as to who is a true believer in the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah and how such a believer should conduct himself. The title "Christian" was frowned upon by many, and so like the Muslims we called ourselves "believers." However, taking up that 'title' did not define what it was that we actually believed. With that query in mind, may I offer a Scripture-based synopsis of the New Covenant person?

Obviously such a one would have to identify with the text of Jeremiah 31:31 which introduces the New Covenant: "Behold, the days are coming, says YHVH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." But it doesn't stop there. YHVH further elaborates on the nature of this covenant and its recipients: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHVH: 'I will put My law/Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know YHVH,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YHVH. 'For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more'" (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

From these scriptures we can draw several conclusions:
1) These "new covenant" people know that they are Israelites or Jewish. 2) Torah is in their minds and hearts. 3) The Spirit residing in them leads, guides, and instructs in righteousness. 4) They all know YHVH the Elohim of their forefathers. 5) They also know that YHVH has forgiven their iniquities and will not remember their sins.
Although these parameters are quite basic, they are sufficient to form a sound foundation.

In a recent letter I had received from a friend, he told me of a question that is often hurled at him: "So just what kind of Christian are you anyway?" He then goes on to say, quite revealingly: "I no longer tell them that I'm a 'born again, Spirit filled, evangelical, HYPOcharisMANIAC, judeo-christian-zionst, non-Jewish Jacob, sons of Joseph Messianic, Jesus Freak (maahn!)…"

The simplest answer to the above-posed question is given by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (2:12), where he tells the believers that they now belong to the commonwealth of Israel; making them redeemed "Israelites." Why must we narrow our identity down to this one word? Because YHVH says, as we saw above, that the New Covenant pertains to the "house of Israel and the house of Judah," and what's more, that days are coming when these two houses will be joined together as one nation in the land.

"Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again" (Ezekiel 37: 21-22).

In scriptural chronology, the restoration of the whole nation of Israel seems to be YHVH's grand finale in His redemption plan of the creation, during the course of which He also demonstrates His faithfulness to His chosen people. There is only one nation on this earth that has been called to become YHVH's expression of righteousness, a light to the rest of the nations. There are 'Christian ministries' that presume that their 'anointing' will bring about some great national revival that would restore a nation like the United States, for example, to some previous spiritual glory (that it never had in the first place) and catapult this nation to an even greater splendor. Scriptures indicate, on the other hand, that all the nations at present are dangling over the valley of Yah's judgments.

When Israel was in bondage in Egypt they could only be released to return to the land of promise when the iniquity of the Amorites became full, or complete. Could we be seeing something very similar today, as we are fast approaching the fullness of iniquity of this world? Watch and pray that the day of your return will not come upon you/us as a thief. (from letter 459) (02/07/2010)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The end is not yet

Letter 458 (the end is not yet) 18/06/2010

This letter is a little out of character for me, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts that have been stirring in my inner being for the past few days. As you know, the cyber world has been and is increasingly buzzing with various ideas and interpretations based on Yeshua's end-time descriptions and on scriptures from Revelation.

I have been living in Israel for almost 30 years and I don't think one year has passed without the end-time mills grinding their endless rumors. Nevertheless, having said that, I must admit that recently nothing has captivated my attention as much as the 'oil geyser' in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a presentation called "The Waters Cleaved,"* made sometime ago by creation scientist Dr. Grady McMurtry, he explains what happened to the earth during Noah's Flood. McMurtry shows the topography of the bottom of the oceans, and how one continent split up into seven in approximately nine months. This presentation illustrates how the waters that were under the earth surface were being heated to the point of becoming liquid steam, termed "supper hot water." When the built-up pressure (like that of a pressure cooker) had no other outlet, it blew open the crust of the earth. This crack can be seen on any map of the ocean floor.

The point of this letter is not to examine what happen to the earth at the time of the Flood, but to consider what could happen to the earth in our day and age, whether we are now 'officially' in the end times or not. As you are aware, there are vast amounts of oil under, or in, the earth's crust. Some of that oil is being heated just like the waters were, giving off gases and building up the level of pressure. In the context of what is taking place in the Gulf of Mexico, it is hard to ignore Peter's words about the elements melting and the earth burning (ref. 2 Peter 3:10). Interestingly, large gas deposits are continually being discovered off the shores of Israel. Will this prove to be a blessing to our little State?

Two weeks ago we wrote about the opening of the seals. When the sixth seal was opened, "there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood" (Revelation 6:12). Like the great earthquake at the time of Noah, so too there could be another tremor of a similar magnitude that would fracture areas of the earth's crust. In such an event, the super hot oil and gases would be released, along with the lava which together would ignite into a gigantic inferno sending up black poisonous smoke. No doubt these eruptions would block out the sunlight ("blackening" the sun) and cause the moon to appear blood-red, not to mention what would happen to life in those areas (although it is not unlikely that all or some of these conditions would be localized and not spread over the entire earth).

At present we can be thankful that the oil disaster is taking place in a water environment. If it were happening on land, the fire would not be extinguishable. Because of the level of pressure that is behind this volcanic upsurge of oil, the experts say that it is impossible to cap it. As we have seen over the past several years, earthquakes are increasing and intensifying thus as terrible as the oil spill is, it is one more in a series that makes up present-day events. In the midst of Peter's descriptions of the age of tribulation, he asks the following question: "What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11b).

According to the Word, these large scale disasters are to affect the heavenly bodies (the sun and the moon), which were created, among other reasons, in order to be for "signs and seasons." These "seasons" by in large have been ignored by most of those who were not necessarily strangers to the text (the Scriptures) where these heavenly bodies and their purpose are mentioned. Hence YHVH could remove from view these signs that mark His (greatly neglected) special seasons.

"But if they [the whole house of Israel] confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt -- then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land (and the earth)" (Leviticus 26:40-42).

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Duty-Bound 11/06/2010

As the world builds its case against the Jewish State of Israel, and after the attempted lynching this week of five Israeli businessmen in Spain, one of Spain's politicians, a journalist, an activist and a member of the far left, Pilar Rahola, spoke out: "I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews. As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too. The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn't want to accept it, is the struggle of the world." End quote.

One would think that some of the statements made above were penned by a 'spiritually-led' person, perhaps a Christian Zionist, or even someone from the Ephraimite camp.

Islam has dubbed Israel "little Satan," and has been attempting to prove their point by demonizing the Jewish people at every opportunity they get (and those are not few these days). The western liberal press becomes, of course, one of the frogs that croak their endless condemnations of the State and its Jewish populace during the 'night season'. Having said this, my question to the redeemed community of Ephraim is, now that you know who you are, as one of the lost-and-found sheep of the House of Israel, do you also know that you are a designated firstborn in the family? "For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn" (Jeremiah 31:9b). Do you know what it means to be a firstborn? Do you know what our Redeemer expects of us? Do you know what our responsibilities are?

As we have noted in the past, most of the firstborns who lost their rights to this office did so because they were not about their Father's (and fathers') business. They were not concerned for the welfare of their family; they were selfish, self-righteous, greedy, and prideful. They were like Nimrod and company, who were out to make a name for themselves building their own religious and political kingdoms.

The Spanish journalist, obviously a secular humanist, made a comment that really hit home, "To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews; it is the duty of the non-Jews." How much more is it the duty of Judah's brother, especially if he is called to be a "firstborn," his "brother's keeper"? In this week's Parasha, Korah, along with three men from Reuben and 250 other leaders, "representatives of the congregation, men of renown" (most likely elders/firstborn) express their jealousy of Moses and Aaron's YHVH-endowed positions (ref. Numbers 16:2). This attitude led to the same old accusations against the Almighty's chosen, for bringing Israel out of Egypt to "kill them in the wilderness." As one man, they rushed to the flag of bitterness, discontent, and insurrection. We can also see the extent of influence that these firstborn/leaders, even after they were consumed by YHVH's fire, wielded on the rest of the congregation. The following day "all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, "You have killed the people of YHVH." (Numbers 16:41). Almost immediately a plague broke out in the course of which 14,700 Israelites perished. The powerful sway that these elders and firstborn held over the people should be something to bear in mind, if we are part of the "firstborn" company. This inherent authority may be directed one way… or another.

As we have seen with so many other firstborns in the Tanach, there was no guarantee that they would inherit the birthrights. This lesson is made very clear in the messages to the congregations of the redeemed in Revelation. The three-word conditional statement, "he who overcomes" (inferring only the over-comers) stands out in each letter as a warning to the believers (ref. chapters 2&3), so that they (the redeemed) can be given their rightful place. What is the 'rightful' place and posture of Ephraim at this time, when the world is gushing and foaming at the mouth with venom against Judah?

Will Ephraim's jealousy of his older brother's princely office in the family depart, or will he join the rest of the firstborn like Ishmael, Esau, Amon, Moav etc. in finding an excuse for condemning their actions, even if it is only by default, through passivity. There are some from the returning prodigal-company who desire to come home to Israel, but are prevented because of the present leadership in the House of Judah. We must keep in mind what Moses said to Korah: "That one whom He [YHVH] chooses He will cause to come near to Him" (Numbers 16:5b).

Thus, it was not the early Zionists who created the conditions for the stick of Judah to become a nation; this was a sovereign act of the Almighty. And it will be the same regarding the return to the land of the House of Israel/Ephraim. But in the meantime we need to seek the Father as to how to express our role and duty in relationship to our Jewish brethren. On top of that pray that when the Shepherd does whistle that we will have our ears attuned and our hearts prepared.