HEARTS FOR ISRAEL

HEARTS FOR ISRAEL

NOTICE:  "HEARTS FOR ISRAEL" MEETS IN THE YOUTH BUILDING 10:30AM THE 2ND AND 3RD SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH. COFFEE AND SNACKS ARE PERMITTED.

PRAYER REGARDING SHOFAR

Blessed are You, oh Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments in the blood of Y'shua the Messiah, and has commanded us to hear the sound of the shofar.

(CJB) Numbers 10: 9  “When you go to war in your land against an adversary who is oppressing you, you are to sound an alarm with the trumpets; then you will be remembered before ADONAI your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

10  “Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh- Hodesh, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your God. I am ADONAI your God.”

Sound Shofar

Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (CJB)

Leader: (PLEASE STAND)  Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad -- Hear, Isra’el!

Group: Adonai our God, Adonai is one;
and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Leader: And Yeshua commanded us to:

Group: ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ From Matthew 22:39b (CJB)  

Leader: 3  Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope,
4  to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven.1 Peter 1:3-4 (CJB)

Study of Mattityahu (Matthew) 3

Mattityahu (Mattathias or Matthew) 3:1 4 (CJB)

In chapters 1 and 2 we saw the power of God at work as He orchestrated four thousand years of history and fulfilled the promise to bring forth His Son, Yeshua Mashiach (Jesus Messiah). To me this says that God (I believe through the coding of DNA) keeps track of each and every human, and that none of us are here by accident or random choice. I believe God planned for each and every one of us to be born, He did not cast a net of DNA out there through Adam and Eve, thinking to Himself: “Let’s see what I get.” Or “Let’s see who turns up.”

If you recall a couple months back we studied the “four hundred years of silence” when there was no Prophet in the Land speaking a word from God. Today that silence is broken with the appearance of one considered by many Christians to be the last of the “Old Testament” prophets – he was Yochanan the Immerser whom Christians know as John the Baptist. With the designation of “last of the Old Testament prophets” there seems to be an indication that the work of Torah and the TANACH (Hebrew Bible) has come to an end. We should know by now that the termination of Torah is not at all true. Yeshua, the emissaries and Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus (Saul or Paul of Tarsus) made reference to Torah and frequently cited the TANACH – it was the foundation of their teachings.

Yeshua and His Jewish followers did not have a conflict with Torah; Yeshua spoke of the people and events of the TANACH as real. Please remember, the disputes Yeshua and His followers had with the Parushim (Pharisees) had to do with the traditions of man. If you remember in our study of the “400 Years of Silence” when the Jews began returning from Babylon they realized that in their history the sin of idolatry caused the great downfall of the Jews, culminating in both Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and Judah (the Southern Kingdom) being removed from the Land God had given them.

The Parushim had their origins because it was determined the people had to be taught the Law and the Parushim took on this role. In order to protect the Law the Parushim began to build a fence around it, in other words it wasn’t sufficient for the people to be taught the Law, in order to avoid God’s wrath on the nation, the Parushim began to develop ways the Law was to be observed. Think of the fence in terms of traffic laws, telling people to drive safely and observe courtesy with other drivers doesn’t define the law, it’s necessary to set speed limits, also it’s important to keep traffic going in one direction divided from traffic going in the other direction. So the Parushim began adding to the Law, placing limits and requirements on the people. These limits and requirements, known in Yeshua’s time as “the traditions of the fathers”, are not found in Torah but devised by man (the sages and rabbis of Judaism), and were gradually being elevated by the Parushim to equality with the Word of God, that’s where Yeshua and His followers had problems with the religious establishment.

“Oral Law” was so called because a myth developed around it to make it equal to Torah. It was reputed to be delivered orally by God at Sinai to Moshe (Moses) in addition to the written Torah. Odd that Moshe never mentioned the need to obey the Oral Law at any time when addressing the nation of Israel. Equally odd to me is that God would give a verbal law that would be handed down through memory, when God knew the people would fail to remember to keep the written Law.

According to “My Jewish Learning”, in an article by Rabbi Louis Jacobs, Rabbi Judah the Prince was the son of Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel II. Rabbi Judah was held in such esteem that he was simply known as “Rabbi.” Around 200AD, he wrote down and codified the Oral Law.

Yeshua was not alone among the Rabbis who opposed “the traditions of the fathers” and many of His interpretations of Torah, such as opposing the Oral Law ban against healing on the Sabbath, gradually, and ironically, were incorporated into Judaism.

As we read Scripture, we must remember, Torah was given to the Jews and Yeshua was sent to the Jews as He emphatically said to the Canaanite woman seeking a healing for her daughter (Mattiyahu 15:24). It was not because she was Torah observant, but because of her faith demonstrated by persistence, the Canaanite was permitted to enter in and receive a blessing from Yeshua Ha Mashiach of the Jews.

So we find in Mattityahu 3 that Yochanan the Immerser begins his ministry.

Matthew 3:1-4 (CJB)
1  It was during those days that Yochanan the Immerser arrived in the desert of Y’hudah and began proclaiming the message, 2  “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Yochanan, usually translated “John,” is the Hebrew for “YHVH (God) was gracious” or “YHVH showed favor.” The word “baptism” comes from the Greek and refers to dipping, soaking or immersing cloth in a solution such as dye, or in the case of leather a tanning solution.

Of course, Jews of Yeshua’s time were very familiar with cleansing one’s self in the mikveh before offering a sacrifice or for religious purification. Even today in the very devout Jewish congregations, women will immerse themselves in a mikveh when they complete their monthly cycle.

When we look from the Jewish perspective “baptism” has a very negative connotation. To them it’s a Christian word that signifies when a Jew is baptized, after accepting Yeshua, he or she has abandoned their Jewish heritage and has joined a pagan religion that has opposed and persecuted the Jewish people. The late Zola Levitt told the story of when he received Yeshua and was baptized he thought he had become a gentile. I personally thank God Zola got that straightened out in his head; it was through his TV show that I began to understand the Jewish roots of Christianity and the Jewishness of our Mashiach.

Because of that Jewish dislike for the word “baptism”, David H. Stern author of the “Complete Jewish Bible” and the “Jewish New Testament Commentary” used the word “immersion” or “immerser” when referring to what is commonly called “baptism” by gentile Christians. Since we use the “Complete Jewish Bible” as our main resource, we need to remember the CJB was written for Jews curious about Yeshua and gentiles curious about the Jewish roots of Christianity.

Also, in Messianic circles, they will remind you that Jews do not convert when they accept Yeshua as their Mashiach – it’s not a sin to be a Jew. Jews who accept Yeshua become “complete” or “fulfilled,” the title “Complete Jewish Bible” (containing the TANACH (Old Testament) and the B'rit Hadasha (New Testament) is a play on the concept of the “completed Jew.”  Gentiles on the other hand, if they have never accepted Yeshua as their Savior, even if they’ve spent their lives in Church, are considered pagans who must convert by repenting and accepting Yeshua into their lives.

I always remind people that Jews have not been able to practice the Law of Moses for the last two thousand years. YHVH requires that they not appear before Him empty handed, they must bring a sacrifice and they can only offer a sacrifice in the Temple, on the Temple Mount, in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). With no Temple, Judaism can offer no sacrifice and cannot fulfill the Law of Moshe. When a believer in Yeshua (whether Messianic or Christian) goes before the Father in prayer, his or her sacrifice is sitting there at the right hand of Abba (Father).

The four hundred years of silence is broken with verse 2. The call for Jews to turn around from the path of sin, spoken by the prophet Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist, see Luke 1:5-80, for historical reference see Josephus “The Antiquities of the Jews”, Book 18 – 5:2). Though Jews of his time were very familiar with the purpose of the mikveh for ritual purity, Yochanan the Immerser adds a new dimension to the purpose of the familiar mikveh. He introduces a foreshadow of the era of the Mashiach: being immersed to symbolize turning from a life of sin and a new relationship with God.

David H. Stern writes regarding the use of the word “Heaven” or “heaven:

Kingdom of Heaven. The word “Heaven” was used in pious avoidance of the word “God” (see 1: 20N); and to this day Hebrew malkhut-haShammayim (“ Kingdom of Heaven”) substitutes in Jewish religious literature for “Kingdom of God, ” an expression found frequently in the New Testament, first at 6: 33 below. In the Jewish New Testament “Heaven” is capitalized when it refers to God; “heaven” is in lower-case when it refers to the sky or paradise.

In both Yochanan’s and Yeshua’s preaching (4: 17) the reason for urgency to repent is that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. The concept of the Kingdom of God is crucial to understanding the Bible. It refers neither to a place nor to a time , but to a condition in which the rulership of God is acknowledged by humankind, a condition in which God’s promises of a restored universe free from sin and death are, or begin to be, fulfilled.

In relation to the Kingdom of God history can be divided into four periods: before Yeshua, during his lifetime, the present age (the ‘olam hazeh) and the future age (the ‘olam haba). There was a sense in which the Kingdom was present prior to Yeshua’s birth; indeed, God was king over the Jewish people (see 1 Samuel 12: 12). Yeshua’s arrival brought a quantum leap in the earthly expression of the Kingdom, “For in him , bodily, lives the fullness of all that God is” (Co 2: 9).*

*Stern, David H. (1992-10-01). Jewish New Testament Commentary (Kindle Locations 887-899). Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

The next verse in KJV version reads: Mat 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (KJV – e-Sword)

In the NKJV it reads similarly: Matt. 3:3For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "

Now notice the difference in phrasing in the CJB which is based on Jewish intent of Bible verses.

3 This is the man Yesha‘yahu was talking about when he said, “The voice of someone crying out:  ‘In the desert prepare the way of Adonai!  Make straight paths for him!’”

This verse is also citing Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 40:3, yet in the Complete Jewish Bible, the phrasing is different from the two very familiar Bible versions cited, instead of a voice crying out in the wilderness or desert we have Yochanan directing the people to go to the desert to prepare the way of Adonai.

This wording of Yesha ‘yahu 40:3 comes from no later than the 8th century as Jewish writers added punctuation to the Hebrew language. Because this is how Jews wrote the passage with punctuation, David H. Stern believes this is the correct translation and Jewish intention. (See Jewish New Testament Commentary Mattityahu 3:3.)

It was customary in ancient times that when a king or great dignitary would visit an area the communities would smooth out the roads, fill in wagon ruts and pot holes for a king to have comfortable travel. The people would be familiar with this and recognize John’s example to “…prepare the way of Adonai” meaning turn from sin, prepare or straighten out one’s life, getting right with God for the arrival of the Anointed One, the Mashiach.

Rather than a voice in the wilderness, it would appear from the CJB version, that Yochanan is calling the people out of the cities and villages, away from their farms and trades, the hustle and bustle of everyday living to join him in the desert, so they can examine their lives and focus on the things of God.

By citing Yesha ‘yahu (Isaiah), Mattiyahu confirms Yochanan’s prophetic role in the Bible story of Yeshua (Jesus) as the one who would appear before the arrival of Mashiach (Messiah).

4  Yochanan wore clothes of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Like Eliyahu (Elijah, 2Kings 1:8) Yochanan wore a leather belt. Identifying with the underclass of Judea, his diet of locusts, eaten mainly by the poor, were a kosher food permitted in Leviticus 11: 22These you may eat: the locust after its kind, the destroying locust after its kind, the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. (NKJV)

(Stern reports the Jews of Yemen ate locust until “Operation Flying Carpet” in 1950 which brought Yemenite Jews to Israel. He further reports the Bedouins continue to eat locust until this day. Since there are no bees in the desert, Stern points out the honey referred to in these verses was probably “date honey” which continues to be produced by the date palms grown in the oases near Yericho (Jericho).)

(In the old KJV honey is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament and 5 times in the New Testament.)

Yochanan the Immerser was a Nazarite from birth (see Numbers Chapter 6), as such he had taken a vow dedicating himself to Adonai. “The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906”, explains the requirements of the Nazarite vow as follows: “…he may not take wine, or anything made from grapes; he may not cut the hair of his head; he may not touch the dead, not even the body of his father or mother. If a Nazarite has become unclean by accident, he must offer a sacrifice and begin the period of his vow anew.”

Next month we will continue in Mattiyahu. Please remember: “Sha'alu shalom Yerusalem – Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6  Pray for shalom in Yerushalayim;  may those who love you prosper. (CJB))

References:

Complete Jewish Bible –David H. Stern;

Jewish New Testament Commentary – David H. Stern;

The Word for Today Bible (NKJV) – Pastor Chuck Smith

Institute of Jewish Christian Studies – Zola Levitt Ministries

The Ryrie Study Bible (KJV) – Moody Press;

Got Questions: http://www.gotquestions.org/14-generations.html

Hebrew for Christians: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/index.html

Jewish Encyclopedia 1906: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/

My Jewish Learning: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/

 

 

Study of Mattityahu (Matthew) 3

Mattityahu (Mattathias or Matthew) 3:5 - 12(CJB)

 

In Mattityahu 3:1- 4, we were introduced to Yochanan the Immerser, better known among gentile believers as “John the Baptist” who is generally considered the last of the Old Testament Prophets. His message was straight forward: turn from sin, the Kingdom of God is at hand. We learned that this was the man Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) spoke of in Isaiah 40:3 as “The voice of someone crying out…” Yochanan the Immerser is identified with the poor because he wore a garment of camel hair and his diet consisted of locust and honey. Like Eliyahu (Elijah, 2Kings 1:8) Yochanan wore a leather belt, linking him to the prophets, but he was also a Nazarite.

This week we get a picture of Yochanan the Immerser in action.

Mattityahu (Mattathias or Matthew) 3:5  People went out to him from Yerushalayim, from all Y’hudah, and from the whole region around the Yarden

Commentary in the NIV informs us that use of the term “all the country of Judea” and “all the people of Jerusalem” were going out to him, as used in the NIV and other translations, is hyperbole indicating the high interest in the early period of Yochanan’s ministry. Note that verse 3:5 in the CJB opens with just the word “People…” eliminating the hyperbole.

6  Confessing their sins, they were immersed by him in the Yarden River.

So what is “sin” and why do we need to confess it? When I worked as a counselor I learned early on to ask clients how they defined certain words. The reason was simple, it was very frustrating to spend an hour with someone, thinking we’re making progress, only to find out that their definition of a certain key word or words did not match my definitions. We would spend the hour talking past each other, or worse, having no grasp at all of what the other was saying. (In addition, alcoholics and drug addicts are great at walking back what they said; being in agreement of terms by asking “what do you mean by that” put the blocks to that tendency.)

I’ll repeat myself: So what is “sin” and why do we need to confess it? Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus wrote in Romans 7:7 (CJB) 7 Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if the Torah had not said, “Thou shalt not covet.”

I find it amusing that many Christians will happily announce that Jesus nailed the Law the cross once and for all and we are no longer bound by it, but to point up sinful behavior they have to cite Torah, specifically the “Ten Commandments to make their case for what is sin.

David H. Stern tells us in the “Jewish New Testament Commentary” Mattityahu 3:6 Confessing their sins. Greek exomologeô, “agree, admit, acknowledge, declare publicly, confess,” literally , “say the same thing.” In the case of confessing one’s sins, one is saying the same thing about them that God says, acknowledging the deeds to be wrong, willing to declare publicly one’s sorrow, guilt and resolution to change.

Stern, David H. (1992-10-01). Jewish New Testament Commentary (Kindle Locations 925-928). Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

In today’s world for many sin is an antiquated relic of a bygone era of superstition. Today we are more enlightened, we know that alcoholism and drug addiction are sicknesses. We practice situational ethics. We know upbringing as children can cause antisocial behaviors in the adult. When a heinous crime is committed the focus is on the perpetrator and what caused that person to behave that way, while the concern for victim is lost in the media coverage amid discussions by experts on sociological, genetic or mental cause of the particular crime. The words “evil” and “sin” never come up in these discussions. And anyone who dared mention Satan would be laughed out of the discussion.

So what is sin? Christians say it’s anything that separates us from God. Jews say it’s anything that violates Torah. Is there a difference? We know that the Bible, of which Torah is a part, is the living Word of God. We know from the Apostle John that Yeshua is also the living Word. Does this mean gentiles are subject to Torah? Well, yes and no. We are not subject to the external appearances of Judaism, circumcision, kosher foods, head coverings, etc. We are subject to those commands spoken of by God in the Hebrew Bible and by Yeshua in the Good News that deal with sin, summed up in the Ten Commandments. It is through Torah we know what sin is. Without the foundation of Torah how would the unsaved we, who were pagans before our salvation, and our pagan ancestors ever know how to be right with God? Without Torah we wouldn’t know that unrepented sin brings God’s judgment and wrath.

Time and again in Scripture we hear mention of the Yarden River (Jordan River). According to the NIV the Jordan River (Yarden River) begins in the snows of Mount Hermon, it’s about 20 miles from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) at the nearest point; it continues on and drains into the Dead Sea. Pastor Chuck Smith in his commentary in the “Word for Today Bible” (NKJV) tells us the Jordan River is a type of death, being immersed in it symbolized dying to the sin life and emerging as a new life in the Spirit through Jesus Christ.

7  But when Yochanan saw many of the P’rushim and Tz’dukim coming to be immersed by him, he said to them, “You snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming punishment?

When we Westerners read verse 7 we assume that Yochanan is delivering a stern condemnation of the P’rushim and the Tz’dukim. The thing to remember about Jewish culture is the average Jew tends to be as subtle as a brick in the face in their comments and dealings. I remember a particular Israeli radio host who made Aliyah from America telling how she had to learn to be aggressive in order to live in Israel – it isn’t that the people are rude or inconsiderate it’s just the culture, probably like New York City. Remarks like verse 7 from Yochanan, and similar confrontations by Yeshua are really a family interaction and though they may sound harsh to us in the West, it’s with the underlying concept of family in their Jewish nature.

In verse 7 Yochanan confronts the P’rushim (Pharisees) and Tz’dukim (Sadducees) over their hypocrisy. He recognized that among them were those who were merely interested in the latest religious fad or they may have been observing him to report back to the leaders in Yerushalayim. Not everyone who answers an altar call is sincere.

 8  If you have really turned from your sins to God, produce fruit that will prove it!

When people turn from their life of sin and have a new life in Yeshua, that new life will produce works, words and actions as evidence they are led by Ruach HaKodesh, (the Holy Spirit). We believers in Yeshua are often called upon, by Ruach HaKodesh and the Word of God, to pray for people who, in our flesh, we would rather curse. Yet we pray for them because our hearts desire is to please Yeshua, who not only died for us, but for the annoying people too.

9  And don’t suppose you can comfort yourselves by saying, ‘Avraham is our father’! For I tell you that God can raise up for Avraham sons from these stones!

We find instances in the TANACH (what we call the Old Testament, but is the Hebrew Bible) where the God’s people thought that because they were God’s elect they had a license to sin because He would never let them be destroyed. An example of this is Solomon’s Temple, the Jews of the First Temple period could not conceive of God allowing the heathen to overrun the Temple, let alone destroy it. Yet God allowed that very thing. As believers in Yeshua we must remember that does not give us a license to sin, such an attitude is really mocking the cross. When we sin without sincere repentance, we should remember that HaSatan is religiously legalistic, he will seize on our unrepented actions and our sins open the door for him to enter and interfere with our life. And guess what? HaSatan can cite from Torah where we went out of bounds, he’ll have no compunction about using the Word of God against us in his accusations.

In verse 9 Yochanan reminds the people that Salvation doesn’t come through their genealogy, being children of Avraham isn’t important to God when it comes to salvation and gains a person nothing if their heart is not right with God.

In an interview I heard Franklin Graham, son of Billy and Ruth Graham, say that he came to the realization as a young man that he was not saved because of who his parents were. Often times people who were raised in Christian homes, attended Church regularly and continued to do so as adults may not realize they’ve never repented and accepted Yeshua as their Lord and Savior. It’s like a Messianic Jew who does all the external religious appearances of circumcision, keeping kosher, wearing a kippah and tzitzit, attending Messianic synagogue and observing the Feasts, yet he never repents and commits himself to Yeshua. He’s living the life of an unsaved Jew, not a Messianic Jew. These external appearances will not save you; Abba doesn’t look on the outside of a person, but on the heart.

When I was in my thirties I was attending a denominational church, unlike Calvary Chapel where you just start attending regularly, this church had classes and requirements for membership. I remember one particular Sunday the latest graduating class was introduced to the congregation, one of them, a man in his seventies who had the tanned and weathered look of a farmer spoke up, he tearfully thanked the pastor and thanked the church because now he knew he would be going to heaven. That emotional scene has stayed with me through the years. How I wish to God I could go back in time to that emotional man and grab hold of him after service, because I realized, as I grew in the Lord, through that whole speech and tears of joy, the old farmer never once mentioned Jesus Christ and never called Him his Lord and Savior. According to the old farmer’s comments, His savior was that church and the pastor.

It makes me wonder that among all the Churches and Messianic Synagogues across America, how many Church going people, helpful to the body, able to quote the Bible, -- might even be teachers -- and no one has ever asked them if they’ve received Yeshua. They are living by works. It’s such a sad thing when someone dies, and the question is asked if they were a believer and the reply is “He was a good person” or “She went to church every Sunday.” I’m so grateful that our pastors call out for people to stand up and receive Jesus and his gift of Salvation.

Repentance is more than an intellectual exercise or expressing empty words; it’s demonstrated in a commitment to a new way of living, turning away from the old sin habits by seeking after a greater goal and commitment for the love of God and His glory. In true repentance one submits to the will of Yeshua and Abba (Father), not out of obligation in the religious sense but out of love to please God.

If we fail – and we will fail – unlike earthly relationships which may be broken when we fail, God will forgive us. Yochanan (John the Apostle) tells us in 1John 1:5-10 (CJB):
5  And this is the message which we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him — none!
6  If we claim to have fellowship with him while we are walking in the darkness, we are lying and not living out the truth.
7  But if we are walking in the light, as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of his Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin.
8  If we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing.
10  If we claim we have not been sinning, we are making him out to be a liar, and his Word is not in us.

Back to Mattiyahu we read:

10  Already the axe is at the root of the trees, ready to strike; every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown in the fire!

One of my resources suggests that verse 10 is referring to the coming destruction of the Temple as prophesied by Yeshua (Matt. 24:2, Mark 13:2). Another suggests this is the time of God’s wrath when God will destroy the wicked from among the Jewish people.

11  It’s true that I am immersing you in water so that you might turn from sin to God; but the one coming after me is more powerful than I — I’m not worthy even to carry his sandals — and he will immerse you in the Ruach HaKodesh and in fire.

If you remember at our Sabbath dinner, Rabbi Pat prayed over the grape juice and the bread – it’s called Kiddush and that is not communion but a Jewish custom which Yeshua followed, it was a blessing of thanksgiving to God for bringing bread from the earth and the juice of the grape. However it could be a foreshadow in the sense that just as food from the ground preserves physical life, Mashiach was placed in a tomb and was raised again to give us eternal life.

Likewise, Yochanan’s baptism was not the baptism symbolizing the death and resurrection of Yeshua, it hadn’t taken place yet. Yochanan’s immersion was a Jewish cleansing ritual of an individual repenting to God for their sins. Note that immersing for purification in Judaism had to be done again and again because Yeshua had not yet fulfilled His ministry to die and rise again as the ultimate and final sacrifice for sin. Salvation once and for all would not come until the Feasts of Passover and First Fruits when Yeshua died and three days later rose from the dead.

In verse 11 where it refers being immersed in the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and in fire is suggested by some to refer receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit to eternal Salvation or eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire. I prefer those resources who say this is a prediction of Pentecost, after Yeshua ascended to heaven, when Ruach HaKodesh came upon the assembled congregation of believers in the form of wind and tongues of fire.

12  He has with him his winnowing fork; and he will clear out his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn but burning up the straw with unquenchable fire!”

Once the fields of grain were harvested, the harvest was brought to a threshing floor. Using a shovel or fork, referred to as a winnowing fork or fan, the grain would be tossed into the air and the lighter chaff would be carried away by the breeze while the heavier grain would fall to the floor where it would be gathered up and stored, this could be looked upon as a foreshadowing of the Rapture where the believers in Yeshua, first those who have died and then those still alive, will be gathered into heaven at the sound of the great shofar.

The burning of the straw “with unquenchable fire” is an obvious reference to the Lake of Fire and eternal damnation. Our next study we will see Yeshua come upon the scene.

References:

Complete Jewish Bible –David H. Stern;

Jewish New Testament Commentary – David H. Stern;

The Word for Today Bible (NKJV) – Pastor Chuck Smith;

Institute of Jewish Christian Studies – Zola Levitt Ministtries;

The Ryrie Study Bible (KJV) – Moody Press;

http://www.gotquestions.org/14-generations.html

Hebrew for Christians: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/index.html

Jewish Encyclopedia 1906: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/

Liberty Bible Commentary – Volume II

My Jewish Learning: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/

 

Study of Mattityahu (Matthew) 3

Mattityahu (Mattathias or Matthew) 3:13 - 17(CJB)

 

At our last session we saw Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) confront the P’rushim (Pharisees) and the Tz’dukim (Sadducees). He questioned their motives for coming out to him, but remember, rough as it sounded, it was in the Jewish form of family confrontation. Speaking of family, this week a relative of Yochanan arrives on the scene, Yeshua ben Yosef.

When we see Yochanan attracting people out of Yerushalayim and from surrounding communities, we have to wonder what caused this religious fervor. Well several things were going on, first of all in those days it was understood Mashiach (Messiah) would come at that time, this generated great expectation, the despised pagan Romans occupied the Holy Land, the Herods, descendants of Herod the Great, ruled areas of the Holy Land and were hated because they were Idumeans (Edomites) and allied with Rome. As the saying goes: “There are no atheists in foxholes” and the Jews were looking to the God of Israel to free them from the hobnailed boots of the Romans. They were looking for a military leader, a warrior Mashiach who would drive out the Romans and restore the earthly kingdom of David. Their hopes were high, believing that conditions were right, including ancient prophecy, for the Son of David (a messianic title) to appear.

As we read the verses in Mattiyahu 3:13 through 17 we can think about the contrast between Yeshua the last Adam who knew no sin and the first Adam who rebelled in Eden. Now last week we learned Yochanan preached repentance and baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Believers in Yeshua know that He knew no sin, yet Yeshua comes to His relative to be baptized. Why? That’s where this week’s action picks up:

Mattityahu 3:13  Then Yeshua came from the Galil* to the Yarden to be immersed by Yochanan.

*(Galilee)

14  But Yochanan tried to stop him. “You are coming to me? I ought to be immersed by you!”

In this manner in verse 14 Yochanan identifies Yeshua and announces Yeshua’s higher position, the one whose sandals Yochanan was not fit to carry.

15  However, Yeshua answered him, “Let it be this way now, because we should do everything righteousness requires.” Then Yochanan let him.

The true “righteousness” is of God and the Mashiach, though a man, was expected to be righteous, he was to be obedient to Torah (the Law), fulfilling all requirements of the Law. The righteousness of Yeshua would remove the stain of rebellion caused by Adam’s sin of submission to HaSatan. By submitting to Yochanan’s baptism Yeshua was demonstrating both His human nature and His consecration to God.

16  As soon as Yeshua had been immersed, he came up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened*, he saw the Spirit of God coming down upon him like a dove,

David H. Stern -- *16 Some ancient manuscripts add “to him” after “opened.”

Stern, David H. (1992-10-01). Jewish New Testament Commentary (Kindle Locations 1012-1013). Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

17  and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with him.”

This is an awesome moment, heaven opens, Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) in the form of a dove descends, indwelling Yeshua to equip Him for His role as Mashiach. Abba speaks commending Yeshua and confirming that He is the Son of God. The presence of Ruach HaKodesh and the words of Abba demonstrate divine approval of Yeshua for His ministry. I cannot think of any time prior to this that we have such complete evidence of the Trinity with all three members clearly present in one scene. When the leaders in the Temple demand to know by what authority Yeshua taught, to me, this is His ordination.

If Yeshua is an equal member of the Trinity, why did He need to be indwelt by the Ruach HaKodesh to be equipped for His ministry? This is what Rabbi Shaul says about that:

Philippians 2:6-8 (CJB)
6  Though he was in the form of God,  he did not regard equality with God  something to be possessed by force.
7  On the contrary, he emptied himself,  in that he took the form of a slave  by becoming like human beings are.  And when he appeared as a human being,
8  he humbled himself still more  by becoming obedient even to death —  death on a stake as a criminal!

Who did attempt to achieve equality with God by force? HaSatan! Also Adam and Eve when they were enticed by HaSatan in the garden when he told them they would be as gods. In both cases it was rebellion against Adonai Elohim Tzva’ot (Lord God of (heaven’s) armies, Lord God of Hosts).

Humanity will serve one of two masters; Scripture tells us we can’t serve both. In emptying himself, Yeshua became like us, the equivalent of a slave. Yeshua became a slave to Adonai Tzva’ot, He was so totally submitted to Abba that Yeshua, who knew no sin, died the death of a criminal. Having emptied Himself of His divine nature, Yeshua showed us how to live indwelt by the Ruach Ha Kodesh through our faith and prayer. To put it simply, Yeshua lived by faith in Abba and the guidance of Ruach HaKodesh.

The words of Abba were foreshadowed in Isaiah’s writings and in that section the prophet clearly identifies Yeshua as the suffering servant. Isaiah 42:1 – 4 is known as the “Servant Verses.” The term “servant” in Scripture can be applied to both the Mashiach and to the nation of Israel and as such strongly identifies Yeshua’s oneness with the nation of Israel.

Isaiah 42:1-4 (CJB)
1  “Here is my servant, whom I support,  my chosen one, in whom I take pleasure.  I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring justice to the Goyim.
2  He will not cry or shout;  no one will hear his voice in the streets.
3  He will not snap off a broken reed  or snuff out a smoldering wick.  He will bring forth justice according to truth;
4  he will not weaken or be crushed  until he has established justice on the earth,  and the coastlands wait for his Torah.”

What are the coastlands that await His Torah? These are probably islands in the sea and lands bordering the sea which are inhabited by the pagan nations.

My favorite Psalm, Psalm 2, contains another foreshadow regarding Yeshua’s relationship with Abba:

Psalm 2:7-12 (CJB)
7  “I will proclaim the decree:  Adonai said to me,  ‘You are my son;  today I became your father.
8  Ask of me, and I will make  the nations your inheritance;  the whole wide world  will be your possession.
9  You will break them with an iron rod,  shatter them like a clay pot.’”
10  Therefore, kings, be wise;  be warned, you judges of the earth.
11  Serve Adonai with fear;  rejoice, but with trembling.
12  Kiss the son, lest he be angry,  and you perish along the way,  when suddenly his anger blazes.  How blessed are all who take refuge in him.

We have another reference to God’s anger blazing out when David, without following the proper procedure for moving the Ark of the Covenant, had the Ark placed on an ox cart. We are told in 1 Chronicles 13:9-10 (CJB)
9  When they arrived at Kidon’s threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled; and ‘Uza put out his hand to steady the ark.
10  But Adonai’s anger blazed up against ‘Uza, and he struck him down, because he had put out his hand and touched the ark, so that he died there before God.

In Psalms 2:12 we have the warning to beware least the Son of God’s anger blazes against us. 1 Chronicles 13:10 tells us the immediate result when God’s anger blazes. These days we like to think of our loving God who cares for us, we can deceive ourselves into thinking God tolerates our sin nature. We shouldn’t lapse in remembering God also is judge and executioner of those who offend Him. Your salvation would not be lost, but you open the door to attack from HaSatan when you rebel against Adonai and remove His protection.

Next month we will continue in Mattiyahu. Please remember: “Sha'alu shalom Yerusalem – Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6  Pray for shalom in Yerushalayim;  may those who love you prosper. (CJB))
 

References:

Complete Jewish Bible –David H. Stern;

 Jewish New Testament Commentary – David H. Stern;

The Word for Today Bible (NKJV) – Pastor Chuck Smith;

Institute of Jewish Christian Studies – Zola Levitt Ministtries;

The Ryrie Study Bible (KJV) – Moody Press;

http://www.gotquestions.org/14-generations.html

Hebrew for Christians: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/index.html

Jewish Encyclopedia 1906: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/

Liberty Bible Commentary – Volume II

My Jewish Learning: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/

 

 

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT:

George Washington and the Jews

His famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport.

By George Washington

This letter, written by George Washington in 1790, is a response to Moses Seixas, warden of the Touro Synagogue in Newport. In it, Washington addresses the tolerance and freedom of religion in the newly established nation:

Gentlemen.

While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess a like liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

George Washington (1732-1799) led the Continental Army to victory over the Kingdom of Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775?1783) and served as the first President of the United States of America (1789?1797).

 Reprinted From Jewniverse MyJewishLearning.com

 

HEADLINES FROM ISRAEL

READ THE LATEST ISRAELI HEADLINES: ARUTZ SHEVA OR DEBKA FILE

KEEP UP WITH THE WORK OF BELIEVERS IN ISRAEL : CALVARY CHAPEL TEL AVIV

Proverbs 25:25 Like cold water to a person faint from thirst is good news from a distant land.(CJB)

  • Eph 6:13 So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate,15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom.(CJB)

 

What did Yeshua say when He blessed the bread and the wine?

It was similar to the traditional prayers below.


Blessings Over Bread and Juice of the Grape


Hamotzi (Blessing over bread)

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Phonetic Hebrew transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-alom ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.


Kiddush (Blessing over the juice of the grape)

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.

Phonetic Hebrew transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-alom bor-ay peri ha-gafen.


HEARTS FOR ISRAEL – WHAT WE BELIEVE

 

  1. Salvation is only from acceptance and believing that Yeshua (Jesus) is our Lord and Savior through His Perfect Sacrifice on the cross. There is no other way of salvation.

 

  1. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is the New Testament Concealed, the New Testament is the Hebrew Bible revealed.

 

  1. That we are privileged to have Messianic Planners in Calvary Chapel Jurupa Valley, that we agree with and are subject to Calvary Chapel Distinctives and the Pastoral Staff of CCJV.

 

  1. That Yeshua Mashiach (Jesus Messiah) was a Jew who kept and fulfilled the Law of Moses. He never started a “new” religion. He never rejected His people, the Jews. A Jew who comes to Yeshua is not “converted” but fulfilled – it’s not a sin to be a Jew.

 

  1. That the Bible (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) is the inspired, living, Word of God, given to Jewish writers and contains a distinctive Jewish perspective that explains the actions of Yeshua and His Apostles. Without understanding the Jewish Perspective, you cannot understand the Jewishness of Yeshua, His Apostles and Scripture.

 

  1. That the Hebrew Bible by itself is like a mystery novel missing the last chapter. There are unfulfilled prophecies, unexplained ceremonies, and unknown purposes.

 

  1. That the New Testament by itself lacks a foundation for its authority and teachings. The Law Convicts, without the Law there is no rational need for a Savior.

 

  1. That the use of names such as “Yeshua” (Jesus), “Ha Shem” (The Name), “Adonai” (Lord), Abba (Father), etc. and euphemisms such as “Hebrew Bible”, “Tanach” (Hebrew Bible), “Torah” (Law, the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses), with definitions are intended to help gentile CCJV members understand their Jewish contacts, and open doors to respectful witness and also, to bring a sense of welcome and understanding to Jews who may come seeking information from CCJV.

 

  1. That we assist CCJV in fulfilling Romans 1:16 “…to the Jew first…” by creating a welcoming, understanding and secure place to minister to Jews seeking to understand Yeshua through our honoring the Feast Days (Honored by Yeshua) and teaching from the Jewish Perspective regarding scripture.

 

  1. That the rise of Messianic teaching is a move of God as the Messianic movement is growing and spreading around the world, especially in Israel. Messianic teaching is a tool to be used to bring Salvation to as many Jews as possible as the day of Rapture draws near.

 11.    That night is coming when no man can work.