Imprints in the lives of those around us
I like to share something ,which I believe the Holy Spirit showed me to encourage us all to live a sanctified life.
I was praying for some people, and started to think how so few of our witnessing to people had an effect. I even started to complain to the Lord about this. Then I sensed the Holy Spirit showing me that it is not necessarily our words that speak, but mostly our being there in people’s lives and living before them that makes “imprints” in their memory box and in their lives.
I remembered then that new Believers often testify about how other Believers were saying this or doing that to them, before they believed. Those were imprints from God through these Believers into their lives, to draw them.
This also reminded me how one day I was weeding in my front garden, and my neighbor called from across the street without me having talked to him: “You don’t have to talk to me about God, I am watching your life!”
This revelation puts an awesome responsibility on us to live our life’s to honor God and His Word, so it will draw people around us to Him by leaving “Imprints.”
The Bible calls it the “fragrance of Messiah” 2 Cor 2:15.
One day we will not be here any longer, and those coming to faith during the big tribulation might need to only lean on these “Imprints” in their memory box. This means in every action, at home or in traffic, in shops, at work or in school, how we act , react, and live, should be a testimony to our Lord.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
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.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
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.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
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.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
What about all those other religions?
Sometimes I think about the marvelous quality of our faith. The teachings are stupendous. In our faith, the universe is made by a personal and loving God who created us in His image, who gave us freedom, and who sought our rescue even when we used this freedom to choose the way of selfishness. He so loved us that he gave his only Son to die for us. (John 3:16) He loves Israel and all of the nations of the earth. However, He does have a moral standard by which He will judge the nations and individuals who do not repent for their sins and turn back to Him. Indeed, with regard to God’s whole plan, He has given us a trustworthy revelation in the Bible. The word love is more prominent in our faith than in any other. It is absent in Islam. We are to love God, our spouses, our brothers and sisters in the Messiah, our neighbors, and our enemies! Why would everyone not want to believe in the faith of the Bible? It would seem that pride and running form God’s standards are the major issue. We want to be boss of ourselves.
One day as I was reflecting on this I began to see that many flee the truth through false religion. There are one or perhaps two great lies at the heart of every false religion. Classic major religions did provide some stability in society, but these systems are not solid in core ways. I did significant undergraduate work and masters work in Philosophy of Religion. So here is my little summary of major religious systems in decreasing order of their erroneousness.
We begin with polytheism. The belief in many gods is the one great error of polytheism. These gods often are at odds with each other. One must placate these many gods. To be too favored by one would bring a person into trouble with another god. There are good gods and mean gods. In India there is Krishna and Kali. The Greek stoic philosophers saw the absurdity of this and opted for the view that polytheism was the superstition of the masses. They opted for a more intellectual type of pantheism. Augustine gave the greatest classic refutation of pagan polytheism in his The City of God in the fifth century. It is still worth reading. Polytheism is the general view of primitives and of popular Hindusim today. There was a belief in life after death, but the nature of this life was often vague as well.
Then there is the Hinduism of the educated classes of India. The lie of Hinduism in this form is found in the classic statement of the Hindu Scriptures (the Vedas): “That art thou.” This means that one’s higher self or real self is the same as the identity of God. What can be known of God is really quite vague. This is the view of Shirley McClaine and many Hollywood people. In western popular Hinduism, moral absolutes are missing. Classic Hindu society maintained absolutes, but nothing arises from the Pantheism of Hinduism to give moral absolutes. There were Hindus who began to think of God in more Theistic (Personal God) terms (some say Panentheism). Such Hindus even taught an eternal life for the individual soul. These were a minority. After the cycle of many reincarnations, the soul returns to the ocean of the One Self which it really is. This is another lie. The continued existence of the individual comes to an end. He is of no ultimate worth.
Buddhism presents a different challenge. The original Buddhists were considered atheists by some. They denied the existence of the soul and that anything could be really known about the ultimate nature or existence of God. This is the central lie of Buddhism. Nirvana was simply the state of living death where one could transcend all desire and even consciousness. This was the wrong answer for pain and suffering. Biblical faith teaches us to embrace redemptive suffering. Our quest is not to eliminate suffering in this life. We do seek to relieve and comfort sufferers, but we value life. Many Buddhists could not live in such a stark view and drifted back into more Hindu ideas which is the case of popular Buddhism today. Hinduism is better than Buddhism, and at least had some schools that tended to a personal god.
Confucianism presents us with a system of hierarchy and caste. This is rigidly held so that change, adoption and development are thwarted. The central error in Confucianism is ancestor worship which
maintains and is part of a rigid social system. Taoism is an offshoot with more pantheistic ideas, but in many ways still fits the overall pattern of Confucianism.
Islam is monotheistic. God is described as infinite and personal. However, the central lie of Islam is that Ishmael is the chosen son and not Isaac, that Ishmael was offered on the altar by Abraham. This is a whopper of a lie. The second great lie is that Mohammed is the greatest and last prophet. One does not find the love of God in the Koran. After reading this book I can assure you that many texts taken in context do give grounds for the violent jihad we see today. There are other “gentle” texts too, but there is so much error. Bible story after Bible story is twisted. It is amazing to behold. One can not really understand the Koran without the Bible, for the Koran constantly refers to Biblical stories. The big contradiction is found in the many passages that refer to Moses leading Israel out of Egypt and the prophets going to Israel but without success. There is no mention of God delivering the Arabs or sending prophets to the Arabs. How can this be if Ishmael was on the alter instead of Isaac and the Arabs were chosen and not Israel? Is Islam a religion built upon Arab anger and feelings of rejection that go back to Ishmael? In its violence and rejection of the true Biblical account we can understand the terrible battle we fight.
Rabbinic Judaism is closer to the truth than any religion that does not embrace Yeshua. Judaism also speaks of the love of God and love for one another. However, there are two central lies. One is that the oral law of the rabbis was given by Moses. This gives the classical rabbis absolute authority equal to the Bible. This lie leads to the other lie, that Yeshua is not Messiah and Lord. So much good is found in Rabbinic Judaism, for the influence of the Hebrew Bible is great and inspired much wisdom in the traditions of Rabbinic Judaism. Yet this lie has led to legalism and superstition. We do seek to embrace what is good and discard what is not good, in Rabbinic Judaism.
Replacement-Theology Christianity has so much truth. However, saying the Church has replaced Israel or the Jewish people, has caused much pain and distortion. Such a doctrine gave way to the very arrogance against which Paul wrote, in Romans 11. The lack of regard for the place of the Jews, I believe, was a factor in not only persecuting the Jews and anti-Semitism, but also in the arrogance of religious wars and persecution. The Bible is so very clear on both Israel’s preservation and restoration. It is an everlasting covenant. Replacement theology is an extraordinary blindness, for the call and covenant with Israel is as clear as any other major doctrine in the Bible.
Israel-Embracing Christianity and Messianic Judaism
Israel-Embracing Christianity and Messianic Judaism share the same basic theology. There is no basic error in the mainstream of this faith, though there are fringe groups that teach error due to wrong applications of Jewish roots and demeaning the value of the best traditions of the Church. In this faith we know the love of God but also God’s future hope for both Israel and the nations. Keeping in mind the central errors of these other religions will help you maintain clarity when you are witnessing to the many followers of such religions. They all have adherents in Western nations.
In our faith, we serve a Jewish Messiah who is also the Savior of the whole world. We are seeing more and more churches and denominations embracing this view. In this faith Jewish followers of the Messiah show the covenant with Israel by continuing to live and identify as Jews. As you can see by this summary, we are not relativists. We believe that God has revealed his truth. That truth is disclosed in the Bible and the history of Israel and is most profoundly made manifest in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. We are to go and make disciples of all nations, and to teach them to obey all that Yeshua commanded (Matthew 28). We are not to seek a relativistic type of dialogue with religions.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, March 17, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.