We can’t hide – Commentary on Parashat Beresheet (In The Beginning)
D’VARIM (GENESIS) 1:1–6:8
Here we are, back at the beginning of the yearly Scripture reading! This is such a familiar Scripture to most of us, but there are always fresh insights from the LORD as His Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). As I was reflecting on this week’s portion, Beresheet, I had some thoughts that I want to share with you and I hope you will be encouraged in your walk today:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.
Genesis 3:1–12 (emphasis mine)
There are a few points that I want to highlight in the verses above:
- Temptation is not sin. Oftentimes, we get confused between the temptation and the actual act of sin. We live in a day and age where temptations are all around us, and the reality is that we can’t really control their presence. However, what we can control is what we do with those temptations; do we entertain them and allow them to become sin in our lives?
As we can learn from the story above, the temptation was whether or not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The temptation to eat was not an actual sin. But the temptation to eat quickly turned into sin because Adam & Eve were easily overcome by it. We need to learn how to deal with the temptation in our lives, and not allow it to overcome us so that it becomes sin. We have everything we need in Messiah to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must also learn how to keep every thought captive, submitting it to Him, and to daily train our minds in the ways of the LORD rather than the ways of the world (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- The first religion is found in this account. What do I mean by this? Well, religion is man’s attempt to reach God, by doing things that seem right in our eyes. God says one thing, but we interpret it differently. God told them not to eat of the tree, but Eve said it was forbidden to eat and touch the fruit. We tend to complicate things, don’t we? We think we can do it in our own strength, and we put a heavy yoke on ourselves in order to please God. Our own set of rules often becomes the reason why we fail to do that which God has asked of us. Let’s keep it simple and follow His way, not our own idea of it.
- God knows everything; we can’t run away or hide from Him. Shame is one of the enemy’s greatest strongholds in our lives. Once we sin against God, we tend to hide instead of bringing it to the light of confession. The moment that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, they saw that they were naked, and they hid. The reality is, my dear brothers and sisters, that God knows everything in our lives! He sees everything that is done in secret and in darkness — nothing is hidden from Him. The GREAT NEWS, however, is that Yeshua died in order to redeem us from everything that is done in darkness. We should not be ashamed nor hide, but rather bring everything to the light, and expect the atonement that He gave to each of us. This is true freedom that only Messiah can bring.
- Human nature is to run from taking responsibility and blame others — even God. When God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”, Adam’s immediate reaction was to blame Eve: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Instead of taking responsibility for his own wrong actions, Adam blamed Eve for causing him to sin, even going so far as to blame God for giving him the woman that caused him to sin. But aren’t we like this, too? Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, it’s so easy to blame everyone around us, and sadly, even our Creator. The truth is that our shame and pride blind us from seeing the reality.
So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
When temptation comes, we can call upon Him to help us not to act upon it so that it becomes sin. But when we do sin, we need to take responsibility and bring that sin to the light instead of making it worse by blaming God and others, giving all kinds of excuses. One of the greatest things about our faith in Yeshua is that, because we have relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, we are free to obey God, not because we are obligated to (religion), but because we get to (relationship).
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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Law of Moses and the millennium
The Fullness is Yet to Come
In reading through the Torah, we cannot help but notice that there are several social institutions described that never seem to achieve their fullness in Israel’s history. For example:
- Judicial system
- Agricultural system
- Feasts and Calendar
- Settlement of Land
If all these elements are in the Scriptures (and “Scripture cannot be broken” – John 10:35), mustn’t there be a time when they will come into their fullness? Some dismiss all these passages as simply “old” covenant, that are done away with by the “new;” but, we believe that through Yeshua, we will see “fullness of all things” –including everything in the Torah and Prophets, in heaven and on earth (Acts 3:21; Eph. 1:10).
With this in mind, we can read the Torah in a “prophetic” way, with a future fulfillment yet to come (Matthew 5:17-18). End times’ prophecies are filled with references to Torah elements: Isaiah 2 describes the millennial kingdom in which “the Torah will go forth from Zion” (verse 3); Isaiah chapters 60 to 66 speak of a renewal of Zion and resettlement of the land; Isaiah 66 makes reference to food laws (verse 17), Levites (verse 21), new moons and Sabbaths (verse 23).
The last 9 chapters of Ezekiel are perhaps the most challenging. A new Temple is built, described in utmost detail (chapters 40 to 41), that is then filled with the glory of God (chapter 43), with a new priesthood and sacrificial system (chapter 44), including all the feast celebrations (45), led by the Messianic King (46), in a renewal of nature and agriculture (47), and resettlement of the land according to the tribes of Israel (48). What are we going to do with all these chapters?
The end of the book of Joel describes a restoration of Zion both spiritually and economically after the events of the end times. Micah speaks of the former kingdom being reestablished (Micah 4:8). Zechariah 14 describes as well a restoration of feasts and Temple worship after the Second Coming of Messiah. From these quite numerous scriptures, it seems that there will be a renewal and observance of the Torah during the Millennial Kingdom, which will be consistent with New Covenant priorities and emphases, as taught by Yeshua and the Apostles.
God’s kingdom has order. The entire Bible, including the Torah, defines that divine order. (“Torah” means not only “law” but “instruction.”) The ultimate goal of the Gospel of the Kingdom, fulfilled in the Millennium, is to establish God’s order on the earth for Israel and the nations. Let us pray for wisdom to understand the right integration of gospel, law and kingdom in these end times.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, September 27, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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The mystery of Shemini Atzeret: God’s post-Sukkot Feast
The jubilant Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) has come to its annual close. I hope, like me, you were able enjoy the sweet seclusion of tabernacling with the Lord last week. The fragrance of His fellowship in our modest outdoor booth still lingers in my heart—and I don’t want it to end.
Shemini Atzeret: October 1, 2018
Apparently, God is not eager for it to end, either. For when Sukkot’s week long festivities and sacrifices are over and done, He gives us one more day, just to linger with Him: “For seven days present offerings by fire to the Lord; on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering by fire to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; do no regular work.” (Leviticus 23:36, see also Numbers 29:35)
The eighth day (Tishri 22) after Sukkot begins is set apart “merely” to “be” with the Lord. It is a Sabbath. No extraordinary rituals on our part are required. We are told merely to hold a solemn or sacred assembly, presenting only the most basic fellowship offering. This solemn assembly is known as Shemini Atzeret, meaning literally, “Eighth [Day] Solemn Assembly.” The word “atzeret” comes from a Hebrew root meaning to hold back or tarry. Based partly on this root definition and other grammatical aspects of Leviticus 23:36, the rabbis have interpreted Shemini Atzeret as a lingering time with the Lord. It is a type of Sukkot afterglow.
Some rabbinic traditions attribute additional significance to Shemini Atzeret.They regard Sukkot as the feast on which Israel sacrificed to God mostly on behalf of the nations. (This is because God commanded Israel to sacrifice 70 bulls on Sukkot and they interpret 70 as representing the nations. Moreover, Zechariah 14 directly associates Sukkot with the nations.) So after seven days of busily offering priestly sacrifice for others, Shemini Atzeret marks an occasion of private, family-like intimacy between God and His people.
As you probably know, Sukkot likely foreshadows the Lord’s dwelling with His people in the Messianic Millennial Age to come. Now, as gloriously resplendent as that age will be, it is not the climactic end to our union with God. A still greater, infinite glory awaits His people.
Recall that in Scripture, the number 8 often represents new beginnings. Accordingly, the Feast of Shemini Atzeret on Day 8 could well represent our continued fellowship with the Lord after the Messianic Millennial Age, fulfilled in the new heaven and earth.In that case, Shemini Atzeret seems to prophetically foreshadow our joyful lingering in the presence of Adonai forever.”Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away…I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people and He will dwell with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation21:1-3) Hallelujah!
In Israel, Shemini Atzeret is officially combined with the holiday of Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah) on Tishri 22. Outside of Israel the day is observed on Tishri 23, one day after Shemini Atzeret.
Simchat Torah is a rabbinic based and extrabiblical holiday. But it is not intrinsically nonbiblical. Traditionally, the focus is on the happy completion of our annual reading of the Torah—and immediate restart of the next year’s reading cycle. To express joy for God’s Word, there is festive singing and dancing with Torah scrolls in hand.
Simchat Torah can be observed in a worshipful, Yeshua centered way, expressing gratitude for the immeasurable gift of the Word of YHVH. “Oh, how I love Your law…Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…My lips overflow with praise for You teach me Your decrees.” (Psalm 119:97, 98, 171) “Do not think I have come to destroy the law…but to fulfill it.” (Matthew 5:17)
However you observe Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, may your joy in the Lord be full and rich.
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, September 29, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.
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With friends like Egypt and Jordan at the UN, does Israel need enemies?
JERUSALEM, Israel – In his remarks before the UN General Assembly in New York Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said the conditions for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are already known. The parties just need to “reach agreement.”
“The final conditions to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians are known,” he said. “The perseverance to renew negotiations and to reach agreement is needed here.”
The solution, according to el-Sisi, is “the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
But el-Sisi is well familiar with the facts on the ground in the Middle East. He knows the Palestinians don’t want an Israeli state next to theirs.
The following day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin and el-Sisi held a long, private meeting, looking like best friends as they shook hands.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last night (Eastern Daylight Time), in New York City, met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The two met for almost two hours and discussed regional developments and the situation in Gaza,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Since his election in 2014, the Egyptian president has ordered the destruction of dozens of Hamas smuggling tunnels to preserve his own country’s security. He created a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, later doubling it, and he keeps the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt closed most of the time.
Additionally, efforts by Egyptian mediators to create a Palestinian unity government have failed time and again, as has Egypt’s periodic ceasefire diplomacy with Israel on behalf of Hamas. It’s an endless cycle because the truth is no Palestinian faction is interested in peaceful coexistence.
Jordanian King Abdullah II basically said the same thing in his UN speech.
“Only a two-state solution based on international law and relevant UN resolutions can meet the needs of both sides: an end to conflict, a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, and a secure Israel, fully part of its own region, recognized by Arab and Muslim states around the world,” he stated.
The king alluded to President Donald Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, barely masking his displeasure. According to Abdullah, Jerusalem’s “historic” identity is Christian and Muslim.
“Above all, we need to safeguard the heritage and peace of Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world. The Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a duty that Jordan is proud to carry, and we will counter any attempts to change the holy city’s historic Arab Christian and Muslim identity,” he said.
Oddly enough, Egypt and Jordan are the only two countries in the region with peace agreements with Israel. Neither Abdullah nor el-Sisi is naïve about such proclamations. Both understand that the pre-1967 borders are indefensible (that’s why the late Abba Eban called them “Auschwitz borders”). They also know Israel will not re-divide Jerusalem as it was during the 19-year Jordanian occupation from 1948 to 1967. It’s a nonstarter for Israel.
Beyond that, neither Hamas nor Fatah is even remotely interested in a peace deal with Israel. That’s the glue that holds them together.
One might wonder why these two savvy leaders keep repeating the same mantra and beyond that if they really believe what they’re saying.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, September 27, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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I am looking for the FOURTH Temple
Last week I wrote about the danger of supporting Orthodox Jews in the establishment of a third temple. It generated quite a bit of interest and some requested that I continue to share on this subject. One gentleman wrote:
“I agree with most of this article except the part about the third temple. Yeshua will remain in heaven until all things are restored. Without the restored temple, how does Yeshua defeat the antichrist and rule and reign from Mt Zion?”
First, the Bible does not say, “Yeshua will remain in heaven until all things are restored.” It says, “until the times comes for God to restore everything.”(Acts 3:21) Some things God has already begun to restore. In the church, we can see that tongues, revival preaching, purity, immersion in the Holy Spirit and the power of God have been and are being restored. Restoration to Israel includes the rebirth of the actual nation, Jerusalem, a place of leadership among the nations as a light of technology, military leader, and the believing remnant of Jews. Yes, God is restoring!
But not everything will be restored beforeHe returns. He remains in heaven not until all things are restored, but until the time comes for the restoration.
The Third Temple is the Temple of the Antichrist!
But is the third temple a part of that restoration? Simply put, no. The third temple is absolutely a part of end-time prophecy, but that doesn’t make it a blessing. The antichrist is part of end-time prophecy, but I am not praying for his appearance! And I am certainly not excited about it, or giving money to his campaign, as many believers are to the Third Temple Institute. The third temple will be a temple of deception, leading Jewish people back to a pre-Yeshua sacrificial religion.
How the Third Temple is Built
You see, I am excited about the fourth temple. I’ll address that in a minute. First, how will the third temple come about? Well, looking through a glass darkly, this is how I see things.
1. A world leader will arise, possibly out of the massive Israeli military victory prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and bring peace to the Middle East—beginning the seven-year tribulation. This leader will make provision for the rebuilding of the temple. My guess is that the Muslim mosques on the Temple Mount are destroyed in this war.
[The antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ (seven years). In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Refer also to Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, which seems to speak of the antichrist putting an end to sacrifices in the third temple.
In order for him to “put an end to sacrifice,” there must be a third temple. This rebuilding will lead to a Jewish revival and, probably, the persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel.
2. The second part of the verse says that he will defile the rebuilt temple, “he will set up an abomination that causes desolation.” We see this confirmed by Paul.
[The antichrist] will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
(2 Thess. 2:4)
3. The antichrist will suffer (or fake) a fatal wound, but will rise (or appear to) from the dead at this time (Rev. 13:3). This will give him the cred to simply declare himself to be God. He will defile the temple and take it over, causing the Jews at the temple to flee.
So, you can see why I am not encouraging people to get behind the restoration of a Yeshua-less revival in Judaism. I am looking for the end-time prophecies that speak of the Jewish people turning to Yeshua (Rom. 11:26; Matt. 23:39), not to the blood of bulls and goats!
Some have argued that we should get behind the third temple because it will lead us closer to the coming of Yeshua. Personally, I find that disingenuous. That is like loving the Jewish people, just because you know that Jewish acceptance will lead to the Second Coming (Rom. 11:15). Yes, we should long for the Second Coming, but our love for the Jewish people should stand alone, being grateful that the gospel came through them.
As temples go, there is one coming that will be amazing! But it is not the third temple. The Bible speaks of one that will be built in the millennial kingdom. Scholars refer to it as the fourth temple or the millennial temple. It will be constructed only after the Messiah returns, while the third temple is clearly built before the return of Yeshua. (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4)
The most detailed description of the Messiah’s Temple (as I call it) is in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel. Ezekiel who witnessed the destruction of the first Temple is taken captive to Babylon. There he has prophetic visions. He is given a tour and instructions by none other than the builder himself, Messiah Yeshua. In chapter 44, He is referred to as Yahweh.
Nations Will Come
It appears that this fourth temple will be a learning center for the nations to be discipled. Isaiah speaks of this:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The Torah will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
The gospel will be preached during the Millennium. The “survivors” from the nations will need to learn the Word of God. From Jerusalem, the Word will go back to their communities. People will be born during this time and need the message of salvation!
The Dead Sea Lives
Last week, I was at the Dead Sea. It is drying up. It is stunning to see the former shoreline and how far you must now walk to get to water. However, when Yeshua comes back and builds the fourth temple, the Bible speaks of a river coming out from under that temple that will flow all the way to the Dead Sea, making it live! There will even be fisherman!
“This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah (desert next to the Dead Sea), where it enters the Dead Sea.When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
I have a theory: The more the water evaporates at the Dead Sea, the closer we are to the coming of Yeshua.
What happens to the third temple? How do we know we will not simply convert it or renovate the structure?I don’t think Yeshua will use the antichrist’s leftovers.The temple will have been utterly desecrated. It is what the Bible calls, “the abomination that causes desolation.”
Furthermore, we see many references to a massive earthquake in Jerusalem at the time of His coming. One passage (Zech. 14:4) says His touchdown will cause the Mount of Olives to be split in two. The Mount of Olives faces the Temple Mount. Revelation 16 speaks of Jerusalem dividing into three parts.
It is reasonable to assume that the antichrist’s temple will be destroyed along with him, making way for Messiah’s temple.
It is this author’s belief that the third temple is the antichrist’s temple–even though it will be built at the place of the previous temples. It will begin with a Jesus-less Jewish revival and is then taken over by the antichrist. At no time do I see where this temple is used to honor the Lord. Therefore, I cannot see why any believer would send money or pray for its construction. It would be far better to sow those funds into feeding the poor or evangelism. Supporting it is misguided religious zeal. It is the fourth temple, the Messiah’s temple, for which we should be longing.
Footnote: End-times prophecy is never crystal clear. After writing this there was one thing that troubled me. In both 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1, the Temple is called “the Temple of God.” How can it be of God when it erected by anti-Yeshua unbelieving Orthodox Jews and then taken over by the antichrist?
I could not find much written on this. One theory is that even though the Temple will not have much to do with real worship, it is built in the place where both previous Temples stood, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—thus making it the temple of God. Or, just as the Bible says in Romans, Orthodox Jews are enemies of the Gospel and yet beloved on account of Abraham. So too the third temple can have this dual sense of divine destiny, and yet, corruption. Remember, Paul speaks of the Jewish people having a true zeal, but missing the key component (Rom. 10:1-2)
Either way, it will be the fourth millennial temple to which the nations will stream in the age to come. I am longing for that!
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, September 27, 2018, 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.