Church of the Antichrist
Art by Elhanan ben-Avraham
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness! (anomia)’”- Matthew 7:22-23.
When one takes a step in a wrong direction, the next step invariably leads further in the wrong direction until, 10,000 steps further on, one finds himself lost and very far from the right direction. Many churches, especially in the Western World, find themselves now in that very position.
The theological misapplication of “we are not under law but grace” has over time created a form of Christianity where any behavior is permitted as long as there is “love.” That misguided interpretation has stated that the Law of God has been done away with in Christ, and now we are under the Law of Love alone, and virtually any behavior lawful as long as it is accompanied by “love.” That step in the wrong direction has now led many churches to perform weddings of men with men and women with women, by ministers who are themselves homosexuals. This, they claim, is now allowable because “we are no longer under the Law” that forbids such behavior. But it is the Torah of our Creator that is the track beneath us to measure our steps, and upon which we may travel by the gift of grace.
Some have tried to find the way back to the way by seeking a new “revival,” and have come up with various recipes to make one happen. But I am not certain that any of our programs and recipes can succeed in manipulating the Sovereign of the universe to perform as we would like, any more than the prophets of Baal could convince their divinity to act by leaping and yelling and cutting themselves with knives. The Messiah warned us, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign” (Matt.16:4). But the attempt to manufacture signs and healings that do not come to pass will only succeed in furthering the predicted Great Apostasy by disappointed believers. It is in our patience and faithfulness that YHVH will perform his will in his own perfect timing, just as he did at the first Pentecost, without the strenuous efforts of men. May we thus be walking in integrity and authenticity and faithfulness, and be ready when the Lord decides to create that revival, which cannot be contrived, manufactured, or faked.
But Yeshua told us, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34), and a sword is seldom known as a tool to bring things together, but to divide. As the Creator has always been a divider from the beginning, separating light from dark, holy from profane, clean from unclean, the Sabbath from the other six days, so the Messiah divides us from our sins, separates us from the world, and is now dividing what is called “the church”: those who would go back to the paganism of Rome and Babylon and Egypt and Sodom, from those who are now following Him back to Jerusalem where the Word of YHVH came forth and is returning.
In the verse cited at the top of this article Yeshua tells those of his followers who had performed even miracles in his name, “get away from me, I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness (Greek: anomia). This is the very same word describing the Anti-Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, calling him “the man of lawlessness (anomia)”. This is the one who will seduce as he did Eve, and lead the world away from the Law of God to its very opposite,lawlessness, where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, even in the name of Christ. And so the church of the Antichrist may be distinguished from that of he who hold told us that “ For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” – Yeshua
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.
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Yeshua isn’t coming back to Israel! What?
The Temple Mount, Jerusalem
It is not enough to love Israel; you must love Israelis!
The Messiah is not returning to the land of Israel, but to the people of Israel—to Israelis! What brings Him back are the cries of His people. What moved God to send Moses, the redeemer, to Egypt?
“I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey … I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exod. 7-10)
We know, from prophecy, that Israelis will cry out to Yeshua before He returns:
“Jerusalemites” will look onme, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child… (Zech. 12:10)
“Look! He is coming with the clouds!
Every eye will see him,
including those who pierced him;
and all the tribes of the Land will mourn him.” (Rev. 1:7 CJB)
Some translations interpret this as “all the peoples on earth will mourn for Him.” But, in the Greek, it speaks of “tribes of the land,” most probably meaning, the tribes of Israel. Israelis often refer to our country as simply the Land.
So the cry and the mourning of the Jewish people in Israel over Yeshua will precede the Second Coming.
To the Orthodox Jews of Jerusalem, Yeshua said, “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 23:39) In Hebrew, the words “Blessed is he who comes” are the equivalent of welcoming someone. Yeshua is not coming back until Jewish people in Israel welcome Him.
Do you know any Israelis?
What is my point? There are millions of believers who say they love Israel—and I am sure they do—but they don’t love Israelis. How could they? They don’t know them. And it is crucial that they do, because it will be the love, intercession and compassion from the believers in the nations that will birth this end-time longing in the Jewish people for their true Messiah.
As an immigrant, I have fought for 16 years to be part of this culture. Recently, my native-born Israeli wife said to me, “Ata mamash Israeli,” meaning, “You are really Israeli.” For me, this was the greatest of compliments. My Hebrew is not perfect, nor is my accent, but I have put in the hours to understand the Israeli mindset and culture, and to become part of it.
If you are called to a people, it is not enough to love those people—you must love what they love. I know many immigrants from the U.S. who have never integrated. They still dress like Americans, act like Americans, hang out mostly with English speakers and have no idea who Neta Barzallai or Omer Adam are (popstars). They live in a bubble. They can host people from all over the world and show them the Holy Land, but can’t tell you who Micha’el ben Ari (racist politician who was just banned from running for the Knesset) or Ofira and Berkovich (popular hosts of a pre-Shabbat news/culture show) are.
Why have I “wasted hours” watching shtooyote (nonsense) on Israeli television? To fully connect to the people I love.
What does this have to do with you?
God has called you to birth revival in Israel. But most believers who love Israel actually love a fictitious, imaginary version of Israel. I recently shared with room full of lovers of Israel from all over the world in Jerusalem. I said, “Your prophetic homework, before you leave this country, is to make sure you have a five-minute conversation with an Israeli—not a believer! And, not to share the gospel (though that is encouraged), but to know them, to hear them, to feel them.”
How can YOU do that? Well, make sure to join an Israel tour as soon as possible. We, ourselves, host two tours each year. You can read the www.timesofIsrael.com. They have a blog section from locals. Through that you can feel and taste the culture. Read books about Israel. The book that changed my life and caused me to load up my wife and three girls and make Aliyah was called From Beirut to Jerusalem, written by liberal New Your Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer prize winner, Thomas Friedman. The picture he painted of his six years in Jerusalem caused me to fall in love with these people before I had ever visited the country.
There is no more important people group on earth than Israelis when it comes to the end-times. No! I am not saying that Jews or Israelis are better than any other group, but that this country has a clear prophetic role in bringing back the Messiah. And it will not be fulfilled without the love and prayers of believers all over the world. God wants to put a supernatural love in your heart for Israelis.
To be clear, the title is hyperbolic—a shock statement to get your attention. Of course, He comes to Israel, but not without the longing of the inhabitants—the Israelis.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, March 20, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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Yes one word can make a difference
For more than seven years, I was a part of the translation team for the Tree of Life Version Bible. In my role as the Theology Team Facilitator (a big name that translates to cat herder). I came to truly understand just how the choice of one word can change the entire context and understanding of Scripture and changing one Scripture’s understanding can change the understanding of a chapter, a book or even the entire Bible. Words are powerful and changing one word can either enhance or damage the understanding of a Biblical concept.
Most people who study the Bible are at least aware of word choices and why some Bibles are more literal translations while others are more dynamic equivalent or paraphrases. What many people don’t think about is how words outside the Sacred Text but within the pages of the Bible can also change, adjust, shift or even direct our understandings either in a positive or a negative way. You may be wondering what I am speaking about, I am talking about things such as chapter headings, headings inserted within the text and even the names of Biblical books. Headings are not inspired Scripture as the text is. The translator inserted the headings so that you would view the text the way they believe it should be viewed. These headings are designed to be like road signs to lead the reader through the text. Headings were provided by the translators of your Bible so that as you read the text you would be directed by the heading to view the text according to the desire or belief system of the translators.
Let me provide one example that I hope will cause you to review every heading in your Bible to see if they change the way you view the text. In your Bible in Matthew chapter 26 somewhere around verse 17 or 18 it probably says something like “The Last Supper” or “Jesus’ Last Supper.” While in verses 17, 18 and 19 the text tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) was participating in the traditional Passover Seder or Passover Meal. It wasn’t just a supper like a condemned man’s “Last Meal.” The text shares that Yeshua kept the Passover fully, even including the time of praise and worship on the night he was to be tried, convicted and executed.
Another major example is the name of the Book of Leviticus. Leviticus is the English name of the third Book in the Torah. Yet the Hebrew name of the Book is Vayikra which means Called or Called out. While Leviticus comes from the Latin word describing the Tribe of Levi. You may be saying “So What?” Well, let me try to explain. If you look at the Book of Vayikra as a Book about the Levites, you start out with a bad foundation for understanding the purpose of the Book. The Book may start out with instructions about what the Levites were to do and about the sacrificial system, but the Book itself is about G-D calling His people. This Book provides the instruction and lifestyle for those who have been called out by G-D. This Book provides within its pages information and prophetic promises that lead us to Yeshua. It provides within its pages the plan of redemption, atonement, and resurrection. But all of it is directed not at the Priests or Priesthood, by at those who would be ministered to and that atonement would be provided for.
If a believer today reads this Book as Leviticus, they can rightly wonder what does this Book have to do with me. After all, there are no Levites serving today, no High Priest making sacrifices or entering the Holy of Holies, and no Tabernacle or Temple for me to go to three times a year. This Book becomes irrelevant to them. But if we read this Book as Vayikra “And G-D Called,” then we read it as part of His called out people. We understand that the Book is not focused upon the priesthood and priests but on the Children of Israel. And that everything in the Book is relevant to us today because we are the directed targets of the Book Called of G-D. The Book is relevant because, we know we have a High Priest, Yeshua. It is relevant because as part of the Called of G-D and because we have atonement in Yeshua, we walk in the ways and under the covenant provided to the Called of G-D.
One simple change of one word even outside of the Biblical Text itself can still change dramatically how we read and understand the Sacred Text itself. Vayikra like the rest of the Bible was written about and to those who are the Called of G-D.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, God Has No Plan "B", and his most recent book Galatians in Context.
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Keep the fire burning
PARASHAT TZAV (COMMAND)
VAYIKRA (LEVITICUS) 6:1–8:36
I previously wrote on this Scripture portion, Parashat Tzav (Command), that the “HaOlah” sacrifice which means, “to go up”, has a deep connection to the work of Yeshua our Messiah. As I read this week’s portion once again, I saw a similar phrase that I saw in Parashat Tetzaveh (You Shall Command), which is found in Shemot (Exodus) 27:20–30:10.
But first, let’s see what’s written in this week’s portion:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law for the burnt offering: the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it. And the priest is to put on his linen robe, and he shall put on undergarments next to his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire reduces the burnt offering on the altar, and place them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it. Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.
Leviticus 6:1–6 (6:8–13 in the English Bible)
In Exodus 27:20 (Parashat Tetzaveh) it is written: “And you shall command the sons of Israel, that they shall take to you pure olive oil of crushed olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually.” In this week’s portion, it is written, ““Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.” So, we see a theme emerge of light/fire that was to be continuously burning. In Exodus, the instruction was for the entire assembly of Israel while, in Leviticus 6, the instructions are specifically for the priests. However, the concept is still the same, and that is: keep the fire burning, always!
So, what does this mean to us, followers of Messiah, today? The Hebrew word “תָּמִיד” (tamid) can be translated as “continually, constant, always”, in others words, with no end. I believe that this concept of a continual light and fire is a very important concept for us as believers. Yeshua has offered Himself as an everlasting sacrifice; unlike the priest that had to offer daily sacrifices, He, as the eternal High Priest, has offered Himself as the final and ultimate sacrifice for us all!
He is the eternal light that burns within each of us. But, we cannot take this for granted! Our part is to make sure that His light shines from within us, and that our fire for Him continues to burn every day. I believe this is what Paul meant when he wrote to the Philippians, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Is His fire burning within you? Are you shining His light through your actions each day?
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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Genesis 1:1-13 — Days 1-3 of Creation
Mk 10:5-6 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
As we begin our study of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, I want to emphasize again: it is the Word of God; it is truth. Doubting what God says about the Creation will negatively affect us to doubt what He tells us about other matters throughout the Scriptures. It will weaken our faith in His Word, but it is His Word that He will not change, because He does not change. God’s Word judges us; we do not judge Him. (Heb 4:9-13) God Himself lives by His Word (which gives Him sovereign authority to do what man may not), and has magnified His Word above His Name. (Ps 138:2b) Yeshua is the Word of God, and He lived by it, and will continue to fulfill all that is written. As we trust God more to believe all that He says, our praise and worship will also enlarge.
It is not necessary to know Hebrew or Greek in order to know God and to be saved. But there are places where knowing them does help in understanding something better. As Yeshua said: “every jot and tittle will be fulfilled”; and those small things can at times make a big difference.
There is so much contained in these verses of Ch 1 in Genesis, and we will not be able to go over them all. But it is our aim to give enough to know the truth of what God says, and for each of us to be established in the truth, or at least to know that by faith we believe what the LORD says, like Abraham did when YHVH, as part of His covenant with him, promised what seemed an impossibility (and without evidence or proof, other than what YHVH said to him), and God accounted it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:1-7; Heb 11:3 )
Gen 1:1-2 God is the Creator; He is not part of His creation, but He does enter into it by speaking, by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world, and by appearing as an Angel numerous times before coming in flesh and blood by the incarnation of Yeshua. And He is coming again! In Ch 2 we learn that the name of the God who is the Creator is YHVH (Yehovah).
Notice here in this very first verse of the whole Bible what the Hebrew reveals: singular verb; plural noun. A plural God who is one. A clue from the very beginning of what we call the Trinity. Not ‘El’ (singular, generic term for God, or Mighty One), not ‘Elohaim’ (a form implying two, a pair), but ‘Elohim’ (a plural generic term implying three or more). The verb ‘bara’, meaning created, is always used for an act of God, never of other living beings.
In the original manuscripts, there were not chapters and verses. They were put there by scribes, and they help us today to read the text. Sometimes we may wonder why they decided to end a chapter or a verse where they do. So, as we look at verse 2, we see in the Hebrew that it begins with ‘ve’, and the same word “eretz” which ended verse 1. Therefore, it is continuing the thought with no gap. There are not millions and billions of years between verses 1 and two, but simply a statement of fact about the Earth. God created the heavens and the Earth in a state of darkness, without order. This is clear from the simple grammar, and normal writing or speech. And His Spirit was hovering over the waters. The Earth has a key place in God’s creation, and water does, too.
God is Light. Outside of God’s presence is darkness. Outside of His order is confusion. The Creator is not a God of confusion, but of peace. (1Cor 14:33) We are called to walk in His light, in His truth. (Jn 8:12;2Cor 4:6; Jn 1:1-5)
v 3–5 God spoke into the darkness (2Cor 4:6) and lack of order by saying, ‘“Let there be light”; and there was light.”’ Light reveals what is in the darkness. God reveals Himself, and knows all things. God is light; He did not have to create light. He did have to create darkness. (Is 45:7) Jesus said that He is the Light of the world. Even in Judaism this ‘Light’ is the Messiah. And in the New Jerusalem, there will be no night, nor need for the sun, for the Glory of God and the Lamb will be the light. (Rev 21:22 – 22:5)
God saw that the light was good. It was according to His will. He separated the light from the darkness. God is the Judge of morality – of what is good, and of what is not good, i.e., evil in His understanding and wisdom and purpose. He separated the light from the darkness. The Creator is not a God of mixture. He is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5-7) And He has brought us out of the kingdom of darkness and into His glorious light, and calls us to walk in His light.
God called the light day and the darkness night. And there was evening, and there was morning – One Day. What we call the first day, God called one day, the “one” of the week. He described the unity of one day being that there is evening and there is morning – and between these two times of some light and some darkness, there is night and day. He has defined the length of time in a day, and it is this time that He used throughout the six days of Creation that He reveals to us through what Moses wrote to Israel. This time period for a day marked by evening and morning is the same before the sun and after the sun. It is 24 hours in a day, not some indefinite period of time open to conjecture; which, in any case, the Bible never acknowledges. The Hebrew word ‘echad’ for one day speaks of unity in the day: it includes evening, night, morning, and day – together making for one full day.
v 6-8 There was still water everywhere, and God spoke that there should be a rakia in the midst of the waters, and to divide the waters from themselves: some above, some below the firmament. Above the firmament He called Heaven, or skies in our understanding. (The Apostle Paul spoke of the third Heavens: the first being our skies that we see during the day; space, that we see at night; and the Heavens where God’s Throne is. The first two heavens are created; where God dwells is not.) So the evening and the morning were a second day, the same timeframe as the one day of Day One, the first day (now that there is more than one). The second day was not called ‘good’.
v 9-13 God said, “Let all the waters be gathered into one place, and let dry land appear. And it was so.” The dry land God called ‘Land’; the gathered waters He called ‘Seas’. And God saw that it was good.” It was according as God spoke and wanted. This builds up our faith in His Word when He speaks to us, or as we read the Bible through which He speaks. It will be as He has spoken, and in perfect accord with His will.
There was already the ‘Earth’ as part of the beginning of the Creation. Now, here is the first mention of dry land, when the waters were all gathered together in one place. (2Pt 3:5-6) This tells us that in the beginning, the dry lands, or what we today call continents (same Hebrew word), were joined all together in one land mass. (In Gen 10:25, God informs us when He separated the lands, as we see them today.)
And God spoke again that the Land should sprout forth all kinds of vegetation, each with its own seed. And it was so. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were a third day. On the third day, God twice saw that it was good, just what He wanted.
This is also a proof against evolutionary science, which says that everything came forth from one thing over very long periods of time. But here God the Creator is telling us that He formed the Earth and the dry land, and made all kinds of vegetation, each with its own seed, and each therefore being able to propagate itself, after its own kind. Corn will not produce a carrot or a fig. A rose will not produce a myrtle. Man may intervene to make hybrids of some fruits and flowers, but this is an intervention into nature, not natural itself, and hybrids can not reproduce themselves! Within each kind, there can be variations, but, for example, a poodle and a German shepherd are both dogs. We can look at photos of our great-grandparents, and notice that they may look a bit ‘dated’; but, they, and we, are still human beings. Each seed according to its kind!
It is also of some interest that all plants must die before they can grow. This is a picture of resurrection. Paul wrote that the Messiah rose from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Yeshua is the Tzemach – the Branch/the Plant – of YHVH and of the House of David. God spoke to the land to sprout grass, plants, trees on the third day of His Creation plan of order.
God’s Word, and His will in the Creation helps us to learn to also make distinctions – between what is good and what is evil; between what God approves and what He disapproves; between what agrees with God’s sayings, and what opposes them; between what is holy and what is profane; between what is clean and what is defiled. We want to learn to make choices which bring glory and pleasure to our Father in Heaven and to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Creation and its development took six days. The finished work was after the sixth day. The first three days God created and then formed the Earth — He “laid the groundwork” – to be sustained and filled and inhabited to glorify His Name, and for a praise to Him by His saved people for His great power and wisdom. (Is 45:17-19) Is there anything that the LORD can not do!? Is a virgin birth too difficult for the Creator of the universe?! Is raising up the dead to life too difficult for the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and the seas, and all that is in them?! Is there anyone else, or any other god, worthy of fear (for YHVH forgives our sins!), and of praise and worship?! God’s plan of redemption is taking about 6000 years. The Sabbath for this creation will be fulfilled during the Millennial Kingdom to come, after the Lord Jesus Christ/haAdon Yeshua haMashiach returns.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, March 16, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.