Mark’s proclamation hidden in plain sight
At the very beginning of the book of Mark, we read of a number of miracles that Yeshua (Jesus) performed. One of those was the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat (the leper). The following verses tell of the event:
Mark 1:40 A man with tza’arat comes to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him. He said, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” 42 Immediately, the tza’arat left him, and he was cleansed. 43 Yeshua sent him away at once, sternly warning him. 44 He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go show yourself to the kohen. Then, for your cleansing, offer what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Leprosy in the Bible is viewed as a result of sin and not simply a disease. As we recall in the book of Numbers 12 when Miriam speaks out sinfully against Moses and is struck with tza-arat. The understanding of tza-arat being caused by sin is why when this man came to Yeshua. He was asking to be made clean and not asking to be healed. This is also why when Yeshua touched him, He proclaimed that the man was cleansed.
To often in our hurried reading of the Scriptures we don’t notice what words were used in the text, and in missing these word choices we also miss some of the most powerful messages in the text. In this case, when we miss the use of the word “clean,” instead of “healed,” we miss our introduction into the priesthood of Yeshua, and we are blinded to the depth of this miracle. In order to fully understand the cleansing of the man with Tza-arat, we have to turn back in our Bibles to the book of Leviticus chapter 14 where Israel is provided the commandments concerning the purification or cleansing of one with tza-arat. In these five verses in Mark, we are introduced to Yeshua as a priest in the order of Melechizedek. Because only a priest can pronounce someone with tza-arat clean. When we miss the word choice used in these verses we miss the entire message of Mark chapter 1. Mark purposefully introduces his readers to Yeshua as Messiah, by revealing examples of Yeshua fulfilling the 6 prophesied roles of the Messiah.
In Mark 1:1-8 Yeshua is revealed as a Prophet.
In Mark 1:8-13 Yeshua is revealed as the Son of G-D.
In Mark 1:14-20 Yeshua is revealed as one like Moses a delivering leader.
In Mark 1:21-28 Yeshua is revealed as King of All with complete authority.
In Mark 1:29-39 Yeshua is revealed as our Healer.
In Mark 1:40-45 Yeshua is revealed as our Priest.
In the very first chapter, Mark establishes the Messiahship of Yeshua by provided examples of Yeshua fulfilling every role required for Him to be the Messiah. Yet because most readers today don’t pay attention to the words in the text most do not understand how powerful Mark’s first chapter really is.
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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Revelation 1:7 destroys Replacement Theology
Replacement theology or Supersessionism teaches that the New Covenant, through Jesus, supersedes the Old Covenant, which was made exclusively with the Jewish people. The Church is the new Israel. God’s covenant to Israel, despite being reaffirmed over and over again in the Old and New Covenant, is now null and void, according their beliefs. The Jews broke that covenant and God is finished with them forever.
Individual Jews can find salvation in Jesus, but God’s plans for Israel (as a nation) have been replaced by His plan for the church. All the promises of blessing to Israel in the Old Covenant now belong to the church.
However, there is a little passage in the first chapter of Revelation that throws a monkey wrench into replacement theology:
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen. (Rev. 1:7)
These are John’s opening words to the seven churches of Asia. This was written at a time when there was much deeper unity than today. You could simply write to the Church at Ephesus and know that all believers in Ephesus would be included.
In speaking of the coming of Yeshua, John draws upon the words of the Hebrew prophets, Daniel and Zechariah. First, he quotes Daniel:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)
For those who embrace replacement theology, this first reference to the Hebrew prophets is not so problematic. Even if God has rejected Israel in favor of the Church, Yeshua is still coming back in the clouds. But the second reference, in Zechariah, clearly points to Jewish people in Jerusalem recognizing Yeshua.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look onme, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zech. 12:10)
This is extremely close to John’s words.
- Every eye will see him. / They will look on me.
- Even those who pierced Him. / The one they have pierced (John uses the same Greek word for pierced as he uses when quoting Zech. 12:10 in John 19:37).
- And all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. / They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
All Earth or All Israel?
You might say, “But it says all the peoples on earth, not just Israel.” Maybe, but some scholars interpret the Greek differently. In Greek, it literally says, not peoples on earth, but tribes of the land.Dr. David Stern, editor of the Complete Jewish Bible translates it this way: “all the tribes of the Land will mourn him.”
He concludes, as do other scholars, that the word “Land” used here is specific to the “Land of Israel”. In Hebrew, we often refer to Israel as simply, Ha’aretz—the Land. In fact, this phrase is used even more commonly than the name Israel. If I want to ask a friend if he is in the country, it would be just as natural, if not more so, for me to say, Ata b’aretz? Are you in the Land? That would be more natural than asking if someone was in Israel.
Of course this lines up with Romans 11:26 which prophesies a national revival in Israel, “and this, all Israel will be saved,” after “the fullness of Gentiles.” (v. 25) Without going too deep in end-times prophecy, some think the fullness of Gentiles is the end of the world domination by the nations under the antichrist, while others, like me, see it as the Gospel touching every nation—something, according to Matthew 24:14, that must happen before Yeshua returns. Both theories put this massive Jewish revival just before, or even at, Yeshua’s return.
John is quoting Zechariah, saying that at the coming of Yeshua, those who pierced him in the Land of Israel will mourn over this fact and it will lead to national revival (see Zech. 13:1). Also, while it is possible that every eye around the world would supernaturally see Yeshua coming, it is a fact that the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:10a) will see Him as He returns specifically to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:3-4) just east of the city.
At the very least, it has a double meaning, as prophecy often does, of the Jewish people seeing and receiving Him, as well as people all over the world.
John and the Hebrew Prophets
From this verse, we can conclude that John affirms the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets:
- He comes in the clouds.
- The people of Jerusalem will see Him.
- They will mourn over their past rejection of Him.
- He returns to physical, national Israel.
- They receive him (as Yeshua says in Matt. 23:39 as they say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”).
This refutes replacement theology, which has no place for the end-time revival in Israel that the prophets predicted over and over (because replacement theology has no place for Israel at all!). You would think that both the fact that Israel has been restored as a nation (as the prophets said) and that Jewish people are turning to Yeshua more and more (as the prophets said) would cause those who believe that God is finished with Israel to rethink their position. We pray that they do.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, April 4, 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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”This is what YHVH says: As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them…” – *Jeremiah 12:14-17
From our home in the mountains of Judah we hear the rumble of the long-range missile strike from Gaza. Then there is nothing left of the Islamic hatred but a twisted tangle of metal and the smoldering ruins of an Israeli home on the Mediterranean coastal plain where a family of seven were asleep. By some kind of miracle the family was able to scramble to their shelter and were not killed, though they sustained injures, and their dogs were killed.
But I must correct myself, as the Islamic hatred remains fully intact from Gaza to Lebanon to Syria all the way across the Fertile Crescent to Iran, who regularly declares their intent of wiping the one Jewish state from the world map.
But the surreal part of all this is that there is no media coverage until Israel responds to the missile attacks in defense of its civilian population, and then the world, including that august body called the UN, savagely condemns Israel for “war crimes”. The Israeli air force proceeded a nighttime strike on Hamas centers of weapons manufacturing and empty offices of the Hamas leadership, and that not before “knocking” first, dropping small charges to warn any within to exit. There were no reported casualties.
Never mind that Israel fourteen years earlier completely withdrew from Gaza in a “land for peace” experiment. The land was given, but instead of peace in return the land was used for launching regular missile strikes into Israeli civilian population centers. Then Israel set up closure and control of the Gaza sea port to prevent shipments of Iranian high-end missiles and weaponry to be delivered.
Now for one year the Gaza population has been rioting weekly and throwing their children against the border fence of Israel, sending fire on kites into Israeli farms and forests, destroying thousands of acres of the Holy Land they so much “love.” It is what they have declared their “right of return”. But the young people being wounded and killed by the army defending our borders do not remember when that border was open to them to come into Israel to work and shop- until they began their campaign of suicide of bombing Israeli buses, restaurants and places of entertainment. After which Israel decided to close the border.
But facts of history are lost in the fog of propaganda and rhetoric. And few have bothered to read the very charter of the ruling Hamas organization, which declares its irredentist position of never recognizing the State of Israel, and their intent of reclaiming all of “Palestine” as their own. And fewer yet have read their motivating text, the Quran, that sanctifies the Jihad- holy war- against the infidels as their duty in this lovely world in which we all live.
*“…But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as YHVH lives’ -even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal- then they will be established among my people. But if that nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares YHVH”.
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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Who will be Israel’s new Prime Minister?
We are electing a prime minister on April 9. Our current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was recently indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, allegedly offering favors in order to get good news coverage for himself and bad coverage for his political opponents. He is said to have received hundreds of thousands of shekels in cigars and champagne in exchange for giving friends and relatives’ business benefits. However, conviction is many months away, and not at all assured.
Netanyahu’s present coalition is made up of mainly Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox parties. These conservatives believe Judea and Samaria is promised to the Jewish people by God, and so they will not accept a Palestinian State on central Israel’s doorstep.
Unfortunately, they are also very anti-Messianic and spend much time and tax money harassing Jewish believers in their businesses and especially working to deny believers the right to immigrate to Israel. All Jews in the world have automatic rights to immigrate and receive Israeli citizenship—except those who believe in Yeshua.
The ultra-Orthodox, which now number about one million Israelis, constantly drag the Israeli economy down by extracting huge amounts of tax money in exchange for their partnership with Netanyahu’s coalition. They use the funds to pay themselves stipends, as only about 50% of Orthodox men work and the rest spend a lifetime studying rabbinical literature in their yeshivas. And their population continues to grow! Most Israelis understandably feel very negative about the Orthodox appropriating such vast sums of money.
On the other hand, Israelis admit there is no one like Netanyahu with his brilliant handling of the world outside of the country. Who doesn’t know we certainly have enemies in every direction. Yet Netanyahu has done wonders.
It would appear to me, that most likely Netanyahu’s type of corruption is unfortunately common among politicians in general here. All want good media coverage. All would like to do favors for friends, etc. But the press leans to the left, the media to the far left, so no sin of Netanyahu is left uncovered. Quite a lot of citizens are simply tired of hearing about his corruption in the media day after day.
From the party center left, we have General Benny Gantz who is well liked, well respected and fresh out of the army. In fact, Israelis have strong faith in the values and honesty of the IDF. Gantz has joined together with a well-known center left ex-journalist, Yair Lapid, to create the Blue and White party. No one knows exactly what Gantz stands for, but he is hinting that he would not be interested in creating a Palestinian state. (The “normal” Left in Israel is nowhere near the Left’s extreme dogma of the U.S. or Europe.)
The Blue and White would most likely give more religious freedom to non-Orthodox citizens – like Messianic Jews. In fact, the Orthodox hate Yair Lapid because of his anti-Orthodox stance. And believe it or not, both of these men are considered clean and honest. But Gantz as a politician is an unknown.
Meanwhile, the mountain of challenges in Israel knows no end. How to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon with which they have promised to wipe out Israel. How to deal with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, both of whose goals are to replace the State of Israel. How to deal with the rising anti-Semitism in Europe—especially France. Already 55,000 Jews have left France for Israel, and the Jewish state is preparing to receive another 200,000. How to deal with potentially difficult demands that might appear in President Trump’s Peace Plan, which has not yet been revealed.
How to stay prepared in case Hezbollah decides it’s time for another war. How to further the United States’ decision to recognize the Golan Heights and get other nations recognize them as belonging to Israel (part of Israel’s inheritance according to the Torah). How to bring more Arab and African nations to recognize Israel as a legitimate state.
Perhaps the biggest of all challenges is just what should Israel do about Judea and Samaria? Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is 82 and ill. No one knows what will happen, except that if an actual election is held in the West Bank, the chances are huge that Hamas will win as they did in Gaza. After 70 years of “no” from the Palestinians, few Israelis have the stomach to see Gaza II rise up a few miles from Tel Aviv, Haifa and inside Jerusalem. The Ben Gurion National airport would become an easy missile target.
Our focus is on the promises of God—that He will bring our Jewish people back to Himself, and give them a new heart and a new spirit. And at the right time, God will also give us back all the Land He promised us some 4,000 years ago.
The two main parties are now neck-and-neck in the polls. Lord, Your Will be done, in Israel, as it is in Heaven!
This article originally appeared in Moaz Israel Report, April 2019, and reposted with permission.
Shira has lived in Israel since 1967, where she became an Israeli citizen. She has worked as a director and producer of documentary films. One project, “Dry Bones," a film on the prophetic significance of Israel’s rebirth, is acclaimed around the world and was seen by Golda Meir. In addition, Shira has written for many publications concerning the Messianic Jewish Movement and the Christians’ part in Israel’s spiritual resurrection. She produces the monthly Maoz Israel Report, providing a prophetic, political, and spiritual perspective of current events in Israel.
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How the 2019 elections may affect immigration to Israel
Israel is set to have elections on April 9. This is right around the corner, and so we thought to address a few things that can change in Israeli immigration policy as governmental leadership changes. Israeli immigration issues fall under the purview of the Ministry of Interior (Misrad Hapnim) thus the identity of the Minister and the supervising clerks who the Minister appoints is quite important.
The Minister of Interior can influence Israeli immigration policy even without changing any laws, as he holds authority to issue administrative regulations for the conduct of the immigration officers. These regulations and the clerks handling of immigration cases is what make processes harder or easier, granting or withholding status as they see fit.
Several areas of potential change in Israeli immigration policy
What are the various areas we can expect to see change in immigration policy, if and when, a new Minister of Interior is appointed?
Immigration and Aliyah for non-Jews
Immigration policies for non-Jews can be made easier, particularly for those who are not part of the mainstream orthodox community or those who marry an Israeli partner, and need a marriage visa, seek to follow the common law marriage process, or marry a permanent resident.
The concept of “Who is a Jew” eligible to make Aliyah according to the law of return, has, so far, maintained the answer from the Rabbinate. Supreme Court rulings of Israel’s High Court of Justice have generally excluded messianic Jews and other streams of Judaism form receiving Israeli citizenship. The change of the Minister of Interior probably won’t change the law itself, or the court precedents, but may change the way the Ministry clerks implement them.
Refugees and asylum seekers
Status of asylum seekers in Israel, especially the approximately 40,000 mostely Eritreans might change under a new Minister of Interior. The process for refugees to obtain status in Israel at the moment is extremely long and very few ever successfully complete the process. At the moment, the Ministry of Interior doesn’t process the request of many refugees for status, granting them general protection from deportation, but without official work visas.
Refusals of entry to Israel
Numbers of visitors refused entry to Israel are extremely high in the last few years. Almost 20,000 visitors have been denied entry to Israel at the Ben Gurion airport and other border crossings during 2018. Under the current policy, those who engage in political dissent with state policy toward minorities or Palestinians can be refused entry, particularly those suspected of supporting BDS activities. Also those suspected of missionary activity to Israel are often refused entry to the country, which has prevented a number of individuals and clergy from visiting. This policy could change under a different Minister of Interior.
Visas for international organizations
Workers and volunteers of foreign religious and humanitarian organizations who wish to conduct activities in Israel are sometimes refused visas, even if they argue that they are not involved in missionary activity in the country. A more lenient Minister of Interior may allow more visas for organizations like these.
These are just a few issues in which the Minister of Interior can influence Israeli immigration policy, and like you, we are waiting to see what will happen on the elections and who will be appointed as the next Minister of Interior of Israel.
Contact us for legal assistance with any of your visa or immigration needs.
Advocate Joshua Pex is a partner at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm in Jerusalem. He specializes in immigration to Israel.