Friday, April 25, 2014


Shalom Fellow Israelite,
That we are living in one of the most potentially perilous times in history can’t be overstated; this being so not only in the physical or natural sense, but also spiritually. One major example of such lurking danger is the ecumenical movement, which took a mighty leap forward with the advent of the Charismatic movement (circa 1967), and has been relentless ever since.  In fact, in our day strong affiliations are being cemented and have become quite the ‘norm’ in various “Christian” circles. 

Yeshua warned us that in the latter days, “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:11-12).  Paul adds to this one of the most sobering statements: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Mashiach. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness…” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).  The above usage of “Mashiach” is in reference to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of the Messiah.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).   One of those doctrines is “universal unity” or “catholicism”.  In accordance with this creed, mankind must unite under the banner of humanism and its varying ideals. In order to succeed in achieving this end, liberal acceptance in the name of ‘love’ must be embraced for the sake of ‘good works’, which can actually lead to pride and self-righteousness. What is the purpose of these so called good works?  They are the mortar which is to hold together the structure of the one world religious order.  These efforts issue from the spirit of Nimrod who gathered together all the members of the family of man in order to build another kingdom with a hierarchal “tower”.  This spirit’s proponent was true to his name, as Nimrod means “we will rebel”.  Against whom was this rebellion directed?  Obviously it was against YHVH’s kingdom
Yeshua really hit the nail on the head, when He said to the religious leaders:  "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).  What is lawlessness? “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.  Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:4-6). Disregard of the Creator’s statutes, laws, and ordinances are a direct affront to Him.   
All efforts to unite the world religions means compromise with lawlessness, including the most recent one which lauds the “Holy Spirit” as the common unifying factor. Such efforts were also undertaken by Constantine, who created the ‘universal church’ through incorporating pagan practices.
Many governments today are passing laws, backed up by penalties including imprisonment, which are directly contrary to YHVH’s Laws.  Approval (even if tacit) of such lawlessness will bring on YHVH’s judgments of “death”.   Not only are the “kings” granting approval to such diabolical behavior, but also the “priesthood/religious leaders”.  Thus for the sake of unity in the Christian religious world (and outside of it) lawlessness and a flagrant compromise of holiness are being accepted and put to practice.
At the end of Romans chapter 1, Paul describes the acts of lawlessness.  At the conclusion of his list he issues a warning, elaborating on what brings on YHVH’s judgments: “…knowing the righteous judgment of Elohim, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them”  (Romans 1:32).
How true is the prophet’s statement: "Woe to the rebellious children," says YHVH, "who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin”! (Isaiah 30:1).
Shabbat Shalom,

Friday, April 4, 2014

Passover and Nationhood

Over a decade ago I wrote the letter below. When I re-read it just now, I asked myself if in the course of the years that had passed, we, individually and corporately, have moved in any way further into our Heavenly calling to be the one Nation Israel upon this earth.

It was over 3,800 years ago when the Elohim of Jacob sent His family down to Egypt to make them into a nation.  Speaking to His servant Jacob, He said: “I am YHVH, the Elohim of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there” (Genesis 46:3). One of the Hebrew words for “nation” is “goy”.  It is first used in the Tanach in the Covenant that YHVH made with our forefather Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).   One man, one Elohim, one Covenant, one national identity; this was at the heart of YHVH’s plan for the redemption of the creation.  The Elohim of Abraham set apart a man, and swore by His own name that his seed/sperm would become a great and holy (set-apart) nation.

When Jacob and his band of seventy souls arrived in Egypt, he found another family member already down there - Joseph.  As we can see from the story recorded in Genesis, Joseph and his progeny had lost their identity and connection with their family of origin, and thus in a sense were a prophetic type of the second family, Ephraimites, or the so called Gentiles of the house of Jacob.  Perhaps this is why Jacob had to adopt Joseph’s sons (ref. Gen 48:5), even though they were of the same bloodline. The adoption was significant for the restoration of the governmental order and unity of the clan. If they were to become a nation, they had to be set apart from the other nations by having their own (temporary) territory in Egypt. And so since Joseph was in a position to carry this out, he gave them the land of Goshen where they multiplied profusely. The Creator blessed them with fruitfulness, as they dwelt in one of the most fertile areas of the land of Ham. 

However, eventually Jacob’s family became slaves to their Egyptian overlords. And while in that state, they lost their vision of being a nation, a family and a people with a purpose and a Divine call.  This is portrayed quite vividly in the scene of the two Hebrew slaves who (much like today’s ‘two houses’) were fighting one another much to their own demise. The seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was now characterized by individualism.  This was only natural, since they were living under extreme conditions, and self-preservation became their means of survival (while in the eyes of the Egyptians they had become a faceless mass, according to the wording in the Hebrew of Exodus chapter 1).  So where was this great nation that was promised to Abraham?  His seed, now turned slaves, were cursing the day they were born on.  They had become nothing more than dead dry bones in the desert sands of Egypt. So helpless were they that, they could not even respond to Moses when he came to them preaching the good news of their deliverance (ref. Exodus 6:9)!

The Passover story is replete with pestilence, famine and one disaster following another.  But when gross darkness covered the land, there was still light in the tents of the Hebrews (ref. Ex.10:23), as the anointing of YHVH’s covenant word (which “is a light”, ref. Ps. 119:105) was still upon them to become a great nation. How was this going to be made possible?  It certainly was not going to happen by the nation’s own strength. This was going to take a miracle, a Divine intervention. YHVH, therefore, dispatched a man with a message:  “Let My people go”.  Moses was faithful to bring that word to the ruler of the slaves, but YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh, just to make sure that His people would know that their deliverance was not going to come by the way or authority of man. Had Pharaoh given his permission, these Hebrews would have been forever indebted to their slave owner. They would never be free to take up (in the future) their divinely ordained position as the head of all the nations, and would still be legally bound to Egypt.

YHVH had another plan to restore these slaves to freedom, and to their national identity.  He told His servant Moses to have each family take a lamb: "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: `On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.  And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats…. Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb….then you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning…. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:3-5; 21-22; 13). 

The moment the elders applied the blood and struck the lintels and the doorposts of the Hebrews’ homes with it, the latter were all sealed into their deliverance, freedom and destiny. But even beyond that - their self-centered ‘survivalism’ had given way to being united behind the one sacrifice, being totally dependent upon the powerful right arm of the Almighty to protect them and deliver them to freedom. “Let My people go!” YHVH had already announced to all the rulers of Egypt to whom these people belonged. These was a people that did not belong to itself, the Hebrews were and still are today My people, [“ami” -singular] says YHVH”.  But now, through the blood of the lamb they were set apart to enter into the next phase of His plan.  “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:6 emphasis added).     

As we, Ephraim and Judah, YHVH’s two families, the two nations, gather together to honor Him during this year’s Passover and Feast of Matzot, let us let go of individualism and lift up the cup of our national unity. Remember that we were all once slaves to sin and death and bound to the principalities and powers of this world’s (kosmos) dominion. It behooves us to “…purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  May we walk together through the Door that is splattered with the blood of the Lamb, out of the houses of our bondage and into the liberty of the new corporate life, and become that Royal Priesthood and Holy Nation Israel! 

May you all be blessed during this Pesach and Feast of Matzot (unleavened bread) with a sense of national unity!  May the eyes of our hearts be opened anew to the fact that we are “My people Israel” in this generation.

Shabbat Shalom,

 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

 It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there YHVH commanded the blessing--Life forevermore” (Ps. 133).  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Return to Zion

 One of the most quoted and song verses in Scripture is the following: "And the ransomed of YHVH shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).  However, few realize that in order to return, one would have had to be there in the past.  So who really are the ones returning to Zion?

Modern day Zionism came into being during the nineteenth century, inspired, at least in part, by contemporary nationalistic movements, which were prevalent in Europe of that day. But perhaps still greater was the contribution made by a few Spirit-filled Christian (Gentile) visionaries, who began to realize the importance of the Torah, the prophets, and the Jewish people's return to the ancient land of their ancestors. Relationships between these Gentile Christians (Zionists) and the Jewish community in Europe started developing already in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (ref. The Vision Was There by Franz Kobler, 1956). The Zionist movement, however, was not really acknowledged by nineteenth century historians as a viable or a definable phenomenon.  Jewish identity was still very much attached to religion, which preserved the uniqueness of the Jews as a people while in the "Galut" (diaspora, or exile). But the religious traditions left them with only a very slight hope of realizing any national aspirations. Saying "next year in Jerusalem," every Passover was not enough to extricate them from their host countries. Their identity was defined more by default than by anything positive. It wasn't until the time of Rabbi Alkalai and Kalishcher (two Jewish "prophets" of the 1800's) that seeds of national identity began to be sown.  They were followed by Moses Hess, Ben-Yehudah, Pinsker, Herzl, Nordau, Ahad-Ha-am, Bialik and others, whose names and writings have lost their prophetic significance today, and have become (in the eyes of most Israelis) mere signs posted on street corners in the cities of Israel.

The transformation, from religion to nationalism, began to grow in the hearts and minds of a remnant, ultimately resulting in the birth of the State of Israel, albeit not without tribulation (pogroms, persecutions and the Holocaust). The return of Judah (the Jews), as a nation, to the Land of Promise is a direct fulfillment of the End Time prophetic scriptures. It testifies to the fact that the God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4), but "watches over His word to perform it" (Jer.1:12).

However, this is only half of the story. Zionism, as a national movement was not only evident among a remnant of Judah, but also began to surface in Ephraim, who is the other "witness" of the God of Israel's unending mercies and covenant keeping faithfulness.  It was at about this time (i.e. the nineteenth century), that a few born-again, spirit-filled believers in Europe, especially in the UK, received prophetic insight into the history of the Two Houses, the two witnesses, the two olive branches, the two sticks, the two families, the two kingdoms and the two nations, spoken of in the Bible. Many believed that the nations that made up Europe were primarily of the lost tribes of Israel. Intense studies of languages, culture, religion etc. began to emerge.  In 1887, a work by M.M. Eshelman, called The Two Sticks, was published.  Later, another, by J.H. Allen called Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright, 1917.  These works were evidence that the Spirit of the Lord was (and still is) working to turn the hearts of the children to our forefathers, and to restore the national identity of both houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

In the covenant that God made with Abraham, He promised him a land and a nation (Goy) which was to come out of his own loins, (Gen 12:1-3). God would never forget the covenant, although He would scatter this nation into all the nations, and thus it is written that Ephraim is "well mixed into all nations" (Hos. 7:8), and that he would become their "fullness" (Gen 48:19). Yet, in Ezekiel 37:22 we read: "I will make them one nation in the land," (as well as in Jer 3:18). God's redemptive plan for this earth was, and still is, a united, redeemed, single nation of "Israel", living in the land that YHVH promised to the patriarchs.

Religious identity has kept the Two Houses divided. However, with the restoration of our national identity we can begin to tear down the age-old divisions of enmity and jealousy and build, under the guiding hand of the Messiah, the commonwealth that will be a light to the rest of the nations, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.  Both houses need to return to true Zionism, to the Zionism of the Torah. This Zionism is a very simple concept; it involves a land, a nation ("goy"), and a kingdom government. (to be continued)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Righteousness in Messiah

The question of how we attain righteousness always seems to be at the forefront of the discussion about the Torah.  Can we be righteous without Torah?  It has always puzzled me why Paul, an expert in keeping Torah, so much so that he was found “blameless” in the eyes of his contemporaries, was still regarded by YHVH as a man full of iniquity and sin whose righteousness was as “menstrual rags”. All of Paul’s righteous living and good works were ultimately defiled by his own sin nature. 

However, when Paul came into the revelation knowledge of the righteousness that is in Messiah he still did not abandon Torah, as is evidenced by the following: “Do we then make void [destroy, do away with, abolish] the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish [fulfill] the law”  (Rom 3:31).  “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good…  For we know that the law is spiritual” (Rom 7:12,14).  

In chapters five through seven of the Gospel of Matthew is found the portion known as “The Sermon on the Mount”, in which Yeshua reiterated aspects of Torah and expounded on them in great detail. He began his dissertation by saying: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy… but to fulfill…” (Matt 5:17).  Why did Yeshua go into such great detail to explain to His audience the Law of Moses?  Surely he knew that there was not one person sitting out there who could ever live up to its standards or keep it completely, so why would he bother going into such specifics to explain the commandments of His Father? The answer is found in His introductory statement: “I have not come to destroy but to fulfill”.  In actual fact, in this manner Yeshua was introducing Himself to his listeners. Bearing the righteous nature of His Father, He was the only one able to fulfill every requirement of the Law.  Did He actually expect the people, whom he knew to be sinners by nature, to keep all His sayings?  Didn’t He Himself proclaim that man’s heart was wicked and evil? “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).  Wasn’t His very coming to earth intended for the elimination of the sin nature? He was “the lamb that takes away the sin of the world”.

Yeshua was the righteousness of Torah incarnate; in other words, the righteousness of Torah is the righteousness of Elohim.  They are one and the same.  Yeshua was righteous by nature. He did not have to keep Torah in order to become righteous.  He manifested Torah because it was natural for Him to do so.  Man, on the other hand, is under the spiritual powers of rebellion and disobedience and has taken on that nature.  Man cannot change his fallen condition by trying to be “like God”, or “like Christ”, through keeping the written Torah (and I might add the ‘Beatitudes’ too).  This will only result in religious pride, self-righteousness and judgmentalism or criticism of others. 

Yeshua declared that anyone who teaches disobedience to the commandments would be least in the kingdom of heaven, but then He made a reference to the religious leaders and said: “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”  (Matt 5:20).  Remember, Paul was a Pharisees and a rabbi.  Yeshua’s denouncement of the Pharisees must have been a surprise to the people, as they held their religious leaders in great respect because on the outside they saw only the beautiful whitewashed sepulchers that they were (notwithstanding the proverbial dead men’s bones on the inside, ref. Matt 23:27).  So why did Yeshua expound Torah to the masses? What was Yeshua referring to when he said that “He came to fulfill”, while there was still a lot more to be fulfilled regarding His Father’s words in the Torah and the Prophets, even after the Messiah’s death and ascension? 

The issue of Yeshua’s entire dissertation was to reveal the righteousness of Torah, resident in Himself, as He was the Son of a righteous and holy heavenly Father.  If we go back to the Garden, Satan suggested to Adam and Eve that they could become “like Elohim” if they would only eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But what our first parents did not realize was that disobedience to their Creator would take them in the opposite direction.  They received what they wanted, but now they had a different spiritual boss (actually a different spiritual father) to demonstrate to them who they were going to look like.  They came under another law called the “law of sin and death”. They now had the knowledge of good and evil and were not aware of anything other than “self”.  This is what Paul meant when he wrote: “For without the law sin was dead.  For I was alive [to self] without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died”  (Rom 7:8-9).  In their self-life Adam and Eve were trying to live by the good, but the evil was right there with them as it was the very nature of the fruit of which they had partaken.  Paul, in explaining this phenomenon, says it this way: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”  (Rom 7:19).  He therefore adds that it is “foolishness” for man to try to live the righteousness of Torah without a change in his nature. 

If we say we love Torah and want to be Torah-righteous, the only way to do it is through the channel that YHVH provided, that is through faith in what He has accomplished by His Son’s death, burial and resurrection.  Abraham our father was reckoned righteous because he believed YHVH.  We can only enter into that same righteousness if we believe what YHVH accomplished by sending His only begotten Son.  This is the message of the “good news” to those who by faith receive the free gift of grace.  Our eyes will no longer be fixed on ourselves, but on Him who is our new creation life and righteousness.  Thus, when we know Him, we know who we are as well. “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Messiah in God.  When Messiah, who is our life, shall appear [be revealed in us], then shall we also appear [knowing who we are as new creation beings] with him in glory” (Col 3:3-4). “But of Him are you in Messiah Yeshua, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”  (1 Cor 1:30).  “For He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).  “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:4).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bread of the Presence/Face

“And Yeshua said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…’” (John 6:35).  "I am the bread which came down from heaven…" (John 6:41). "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…” (John 6:51).  
Yeshua has chosen to compare Himself and the Life that He gives to “bread”.  In last week’s article, “Bread of Heaven”, we noted that, Yeshua told His followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood (see John 6:53).  Therefore, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…” (v. 51 emphasis added).  Later Yeshua clarified these ‘hard’ statements by saying that, "it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (v. 63 emphasis added).  In other words, Yeshua, His words, His message, and even His person constitute the “bread”. 
Already Moshe, in the wilderness, made the declaration: "So He [Elohim] humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH” (Deuteronomy 8:3). But one would think that this kind of spiritual reality would have eluded the Israelites. As hungry and distraught newly released slaves, what would they have understood about “living by the Word”? Indeed, they did not appear to grasp that notion. Yeshua, however, quoted some of these very words, in reference to bread, immediately upon His encounter with the adversary at the start of His ministry (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). From then on the ‘bread imagery’ continued to be a central theme, as we have seen, during the rest of His time on earth.  He even taught His disciples to pray: “Give us this day our allotted portion of bread” (literal translation, based on Proverbs 30:8).
During the Passover meal Yeshua took the unleavened bread, broke it and said: “This is my body”.  He was reminding His disciples of what He had said to them previously, after the feeding of the five thousand.  Since they did not understand spiritual realities, He had to make His point very tangible.  Only after being filled with the Spirit of Elohim they grasped what Yeshua meant by “partaking of His body and blood/life”.
 After being immersed in the Spirit, these disciples had become the “one bread” and their communing with each other, as His body, was by “eating Spirit and drinking Life”, which each member provided.  Later on Paul wrote, “Now you are the body of Messiah…” (1 Corinthians 12:27), and a little earlier: “…The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Messiah?  For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  Obviously, the apostle was not speaking of “flesh”, or anything of this creation. He was referring to Spirit and Life, the bread which came down from heaven.
Recalling the scene of the feeding of the five thousand, where Yeshua blessed the bread and then broke it and gave it out, we can rest assured that He will do the same with us.  Blessing us as the “bread” is not for us personally, but for the sake of others. Hence it says: “In whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).  
Nourishing each other in the body of Messiah with His love and all the other fruit of the spirit will cause the body to mature. But should this not be the case, there is a severe warning issued by Paul: “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).  This statement is not speaking about a wafer and a sip of wine.  It is telling us to recognize the mystery of Messiah’s Spirit in one another, as we are bound together by the Word. 
After Yeshua was glorified, He sent the Spirit of His Father in fulfillment of His (earlier) prayer: "…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:21-22).  In John 14:8 Philip addressed Yeshua and said to Him: "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us".  Yeshua responded to him with a question: "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?” He then added: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father?’” (v. 9).  Yet in chapter 1 of the Gospel of John it says that, “No one has seen [the face of] Elohim at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (v 18). In saying what He did to Philip, Yeshua was therefore declaring that He was/is the very manifestation of His Father.
As believers who have received the Spirit of Elohim, we too have become united with the Father and His Son, Who are the “one bread”.  This brings to mind another bread, the “bread of the presence” - lechem hapanim - literally “bread of the face”, which was in the Holy Place (in the Mishkan and the Temple).  And even though Elohim said to Moses, “…My face shall not be seen…" (Exodus 33:23), in partaking of Yeshua (His life), we, the twelve loaves of Leviticus 24:5, are the very bread of Elohim’s presence, or the “face of Elohim”. Quite a staggering reality! What’s more, as Yeshua’s body we have within us the treasure of His presence in our earthen vessels: “For it is the Elohim who commanded light to shine out of darkness [in creation], who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Elohim in the face of Messiah Yeshua” (2 Corinthians, 4:6 emphasis added).Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). 

Interestingly, even after Yeshua’s resurrection He continued to remind His disciples of His legacy and their calling, by feeding them with “bread”.  Shortly after His resurrection, two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus when they suddenly noticed a man walking alongside them.  It was only after He broke the bread and blessed it, when they were sitting around the table, that they recognized Him. In their report, “about the things that had happened on the road”, they emphasized “… how He was known to them in the breaking of bread” (Luke 24:35).  Yeshua will also make Himself known through us when we become His blessed and broken bread.  Another episode that took place after the resurrection was upon Yeshua’s arrival to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There He prepared a meal for the hungry fishermen. “Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread…  Yeshua then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish” (John 21:9 and 13).   I wouldn’t doubt that this took place right where it all started – when the five thousand were fed…  

Bread of Life

In chapter 6 of the Gospel of John, it is recorded that multitudes of people were following Yeshua because of the miracles that they saw Him perform.  One day, for example, five thousand people gathered around Him.  Yeshua approached Philip, one of the disciples, and tested him regarding their ability to feed the people. Philip, for his part, was only able to perceive the situation from his natural perspective, suggesting that not even two hundred denarii would suffice to give each one present just a small amount.  (Is there a lesson in this for today, that no amount of money will be able to feed the spiritually hungry people of this world?) Just then Andrew noticed a boy with five loaves of bread and two fishes. Yeshua turned to the disciples and told them to have the multitude sit down.    He took the fish and the bread, blessed them, broke off some and gave it to the disciples so that they would distribute the food to the people. When all had finished eating, they took up twelve baskets-full of leftovers.

This story sets the stage as to what Yeshua was going to reveal about Himself shortly.  After some of His followers wanted to take Him by force and make Him king right there and then. He departed from the scene while His disciples got into a boat and took off across the sea.  Amazingly, Yeshua arrived, somehow, on the other side and greeted them upon their arrival.   How he got there so fast astounded everyone.  The next day some of the same people were looking for Him to perform more miracles, but Yeshua discerned their true motive, and said: “"Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). Is this another warning sign for today’s followers of Yeshua?
Following the ‘feeding scene’, Yeshua was now ready to take his listeners further and reveal to them hidden truths regarding that miracle. And so He states: "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life…” (v. 27a).  Just as when He met the Samaritan woman at the well and told her about the eternally thirst quenching water that He gives (see John 4:14), so too now, Yeshua speaks of the bread that gives everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give… because Elohim the Father has set His seal on Him" (John 6:27).  Notice that He does not directly point to Himself right away, but leads them on to asking more questions. "What shall we do, that we may work the works of Elohim?" (v. 28), they respond.  The Messiah’s answer really sparks their curiosity:  "This is the work of Elohim that you believe in Him whom He sent" (v. 29).  One would think that their next question would have been, “Tell us whom has Elohim sent?”  But the trained Jewish mind does not necessarily commit itself so quickly. They figured that this man just might be referring to Himself and they were not about to acknowledge that fact. So they tested Him: “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?” (v. 30).  Apparently they did not recognize the multiplication of the bread as anything significant, and in a way they were actually belittling Yeshua, as seen in their further comment: "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He [Moses] gave them bread from heaven to eat’" (v. 31). 

 Yeshua is now going to counter their statement: “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of Elohim is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (vs. 32-33).   Later He will remind them that their fathers ate of that bread and died. 
The inquirers, like the Samaritan woman at the well, responded based upon their ‘natural’ understanding. Completely missing the point they reply:  "Lord, give us this bread always" (v. 34). Yeshua is now ready ‘to drop the bomb’ and let them in on the secret: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (v. 35).   This statement really got to them and they began to murmur and complain. Although Yeshua knew that they did not believe Him, He went on to press the issue, “…this bread is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world…  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh” (v. 51b,a).  This was more than they could take; enough is enough - “eating human flesh?!”   Everyone knew that this was an abomination before Elohim, and is totally repulsive to any Jew or even non-Jew.  Did Yeshua truly believe what He was saying? 

The Jews began to quarrel amongst themselves saying: “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” (v. 52).  Relentlessly Yeshua continues to ‘rub it in’: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (vs. 53-56)Wow!  This is beyond anything any man has ever said.  What blasphemy!  Even Yeshua’s disciples were offended by these statements.  However, Yeshua’s intent was to get their attention and at the same time separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak.  Can you imagine? These things He said in the synagogue in Capernaum!  It is amazing that they did not take Him to the water and drown or stone Him. 
The Messiah’s next statement to His offended disciples was going to be the key that unlocks the mystery of the bread of heaven:  "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” (v. 62).   
Yeshua is now revealing to them that He was with the Father in the beginning, and is now manifesting His (the Father’s) presence (see John 14:8-9).  He then goes on to clarify His previous statement, referring to His “flesh and blood”: "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). 

Many of the disciples left as they could not accept what Yeshua was about Himself. So it is today, many will fall from the faith for the same reason. "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever" (vs. 57-58).  Is Yeshua asking us the same question that He posed before the twelve: “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67). May our response be as emphatic as Peter’s: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim" (vs. 68-69).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Torah and Spirit

Shalom Fellow Israelite,
After reading some choice excerpts, from a modern day English translations of the Bible, it appears that under the guise of bringing scripture ‘up to date’, this assemblage-cum-translation is nothing more than a bamboozling attempt aimed at sanctioning sin, or even worse, promoting it under scriptural auspices. The distortions offered by these texts made me realize all the more why the enemy of our Creator would steer the “church” as far away from the Torah as possible. This is most likely the reason why Yeshua is leading people out of the Torah-less or lawless institutions, taking the sheep back unto Himself and feeding them His word by the Spirit.

The following is a testimony of a friend who describes her experience regarding this issue:
“I believe what happened was that I had to be taken out of the things I had been in before, to start understanding the Torah, so I could understand the REAL workings of the Spirit.  So much of the Charismatic movement had the real Spirit, and then it seemed that it got into something that really was not of the Father.  It was a wonderful time for me back in the mid 90's because that is when I was baptized in the
Ruach, but as things went on, I began to see many things that seemed to be a

There are many others with similar testimonies.
In order to present and communicate the gospel of Yeshua, His disciples turned to the Torah and to the words of the prophets, as those were the only scriptural resources that they had. Therefore, how can we throw away those foundations and expect to mature in our spiritual lives?  Instead of the Word becoming flesh in us, the flesh changes the Word, so that God’s image is ‘created’ in the image of man.  Just as Paul warned in his letter to the believers in Rome: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” (Rom 1:22-23).

Because of this tendency to alter the original biblical text, we must try and stick as closely as possible to the Hebrew and Greek.   We must be careful, as some of the modern versions alter and change words to fit a new or modern morality (if morality is what it is...). However I must say that although here in Israel we have many institutions studying the Torah, Prophets and Writings in the original language, yet sin still abounds in our midst.  One would think that with the Torah being taught in the schools we would see a different society here.  It is not hard therefore to put two and two together. That is, Torah without the New Covenant indwelling Spirit of Holiness results in the same sin behavior, which is present where the Spirit of Holiness resides, but without Torah.  Now the question arises, what will happen when the New Covenant Spirit filled believers embrace Torah? Will they also compromise and continue in the ways of the spirit of this world, or will they become mature sons and daughters of the Living Elohim?
This brings me to another quote from another letter.  “As we mature in the Messiah and learn to be obedient to the Spirit of Truth, letting Him operate His will in our vessels, the victorious life of abundance comes just as promised.  But now, through further revelation, we know that this includes Torah obedience, we are on a less traveled road that was last traveled frequently by the Apostolic generation and early Believers.
Now that the Ruach is taking us back to that trail, where the end-time saints will have the testimony of Yeshua and obey His commandments, as John tells us in the book of Revelation, we have a goal that inspires embracing His will for our lives.  In other words, with the great war upon the Saints scheduled for the end of the age, the only way that any of us will be able to survive until the end is by being led by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit and letting Him through us comply with the Torah.  After all, He cannot do anything that is contrary to the Torah because that would be sin and He cannot sin.  If we have Him as the old four spiritual laws diagram put it, "on the throne of our life," then it is Him operating through us and we have submitted our will to Him. He must increase and we must decrease.”
Yes, how do we live and walk in the Spirit at all times and in all places?  How do we “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit” (2 Cor 7:1)?  How do we not become “children who are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14)?  How can we mature to become young men and women who have overcome evil (1 John 2:13-14), and then become mature spiritual fathers and mothers that know how to raise spiritual children in the nature of righteousness and holiness?  This is the challenge and opportunity that YHVH is giving to this generation of the seed of Abraham.  Will there be a remnant that will be an expression of maturity, perfection, wholeness and completeness as Yeshua’s body, a truly New Creation (adult) Spiritual Man?  I believe that it is possible by the obedience of faith and by the Word made flesh, as the Torah is being written on our hearts.

There seems to be a union, a marriage, taking place between the Torah and our New Creation person.  What that will look like has yet to be seen, but it is developing and will have its day of full expression through a people, a nation, that has been predestined before the foundations of this present cosmos.  Privileged, as we are, to taste of the power and glory of the coming age, we can have the same zeal as the early apostles: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [teleios – full age, mature, complete] be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (Phil 3:13-15).