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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When the mighty are fallen
Revelation 18:1-2a says; After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!”
This final “fall” of the Babylonian system (I wrote a blog about my thoughts on this system a few months ago) has been pre-figured several times in history by the “fall” or socio-political dissolution of great empires and nation-states.
The last time it happened was in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell. My wife and many of our friends were born and grew up in the Soviet Union and they speak of those days with mixed feelings. On the one hand, they acknowledge that the Communist regime which ruled the Soviet Union was very tyrannical and wicked. On the other hand, it provided physical security and social and economic stability for tens of millions of people, and when that regime fell from power, it resulted in much suffering.
Wars broke out between rival nations and factions which the Soviet regime had kept under control. Organized crime and violence skyrocketed in Russian cities while millions of women were forced into prostitution in order to survive the economic crash which accompanied the fall of the Communist regime. The physical infrastructure, healthcare system, etc. which the Soviet regime had maintained slowly began to decay and fall apart, to the point where today in many parts of what was once the Soviet Union, especially the impoverished Central Asian states, the population is slipping back into pre-industrial levels of human development and quality of life.
That’s what the fall of a superpower looks like.
I know it’s not a popular topic, but I think the time has come when all of us need to start thinking about what we’ll do if the US falls apart the same way the USSR did. As I’m writing this I can hear people scoffing at the absurdity of this idea, but my dear brothers and sisters I implore you to take it seriously. Ask anyone who was living in the USSR when that country fell and they’ll tell you that even a few months before it happened almost nobody was seriously talking about the possibility of it happening.
The US is a country where somewhere around 330 million people live, and every day brings more headlines about the increasingly hateful and even violent divisions between them. The most visible schisms are along racial lines, but there are also divisions between religions, generations, regions, socio-economic classes and even professions. This is happening at a time when the US economy is booming and there is relative material abundance, low unemployment, etc. One shudders to think of what will happen the next time there’s an economic downturn and all of a sudden millions of people who are already inclined to anger and resentment against their neighbours regarding political and cultural issues add economic worries to the mix. There’s a limit to the strain any system can take, and America seems to be very close to the breaking point.
While it’s true that there’s also plenty of good news that you rarely hear about and there’s also strengths in American society that have been its saving grace in past crises and could yet rescue it out of the current crisis as well, in my humble opinion, it is simply not responsible to assume that “it’ll be alright” because it always has been (more or less) up until now.
Israel would be deeply affected should America fall apart in a similar way to what happened to the USSR. It would be in a highly vulnerable position and I know there are even some self-described “prophets” out there who say that something along these lines MUST happen in order to trigger the events prophesied about in Ezekiel 38-39, as well as other prophetic scenarios.
That might turn out to be true and it might not. But in any case, the fall of America, or even a chain of events which left it sharply less able to project power into the Middle East, for whatever reason, would have a very immediate and decidedly negative impact on Israel. It might also have some positive impacts, such as a large number of American and Canadian Jews immigrating here, just like over 1 million Jews immigrated to Israel after the Soviet Union fell.
In any case, these are things the Body of Messiah in Israel and Israel’s Christian friends around the world should start thinking about and making contingency plans for. It might seem absurd and unthinkable today but then again it might happen tomorrow.
Aaron is a member of Jerusalem Assembly, House of Redemption.
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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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What is the connection between the Transfiguration and Sukkot?
To understand the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot you have to first understand what the Church calls the Transfiguration. Because it is impossible to fully realize the importance of the Feast of Tabernacles to all believers in Yeshua if you don’t keep Sukkot in the full context of Scripture.
We read about the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. In these few verses we read about one of the most amazing events in the New Testament as Yeshua, Peter, John, and Jacob are together on top of a Mountain. What makes this event so powerful is that within the written text itself we get to experience both the temporal world where John, Peter, and Jacob lived; the eternal world where Moses and Elijah are; and the reality that Yeshua was and is still living in both worlds at the same time. The scene described allowed humanity if only for a few moments to see not only into both worlds, but we were able to have a glimpse into the reality that both worlds intersect. The eternal and the temporal are not separate but connected in a way that we cannot fully grasp. But through Yeshua drawing back the curtain for a brief time, the Disciples as well as all who reads their words were able to see the unique joining of the two realms; one inside of time and the other without time.
In Ephesians 1:9-10, we find a powerful verse of Scripture in the middle of a whole section of powerful verses. Because of its location in the text, these words often become blended into the text, and the statement made gets someone lost in to the reader.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, in keeping with His good pleasure that He planned in Messiah. The plan of the fullness of times is to bring all things together in the Messiah—both things in heaven and things on earth, all in Him.
Notice the wording that the plan of the fullness of times is to bring together, both things in heaven and things of earth. Those moments in time that we read about in the verse below are an example of bringing together things in heaven and on earth. At this point you may be wondering okay, so I see the bringing together of the heavenly and the earthly as we see John, Peter Jacob, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua all in one place at one time. But what does this have to do with the Feast of Tabernacles and more importantly what does it have to do with believers in Yeshua today. To find this answer lets read the immediate reaction that Peter, John, and Jacob had to their supernatural experience. They have just seen Moses and Elijah with their own eyes, and they were talking with Yeshua. Their response is found in verse 3 below. They wanted to build three sukkot (booths) one for Yeshua, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
After six days, Yeshua takes with Him Peter and Jacob and John his brother, and brings them up a high mountain by themselves. Now He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Yeshua. Peter responded to Yeshua, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! If You wish, I will make three sukkot here—one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
Why would they want to build sukkot for them what would cause these disciples to feel the urgency to build sukkot? In order to understand we must first take a look at the other times in the Scripture where sukkot were built and why. The first time we find the word sukkot in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 33:17
but Jacob journeyed to Sukkot and built a house for himself, and for his livestock he made booths. That is the reason that place is called Sukkot.
Jacob is on his way back to the Promised Land after his time as a servant with Laban. If we remember back just a few chapters we know that G-D promised Jacob that He would take care of Jacob and bring him home in Shalom. Now over 20 years later Jacob is on his way home, G-D has fulfilled His promises. Jacob meets with his brother Esau, who at one time wanted to kill Jacob because Jacob deceived Isaac and stole Esau’s birthright blessing. But when Jacob arrives contrary to his fears Esau greets him with peace just as G-D had promised. So, what does Jacob do? He builds sukkot. So, we see That Jacob (also known as Israel) leaves the Promised Land and enters becomes a servant to Laban and when he through G-D miracles becomes free and returns to the land of his fathers, he builds and lives in sukkot. Years later Israel the Nation, after having left the land of their fathers and became servants to Egypt for over 400 years is delivered by the miracle power of G-D and upon their deliverance they build and live in sukkot.
The patter of building sukkot when Israel is set free from bondage is established it is no wonder that in John 1:14 we read:
And the Word became flesh and tabernacled (sukkah) among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And in Revelation 21:3 when describing the promised fulfillment of our redemption we read:
I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God.
You see the disciples understood something we are only beginning to come to understand that the commandment found in Leviticus 23:42-43:
You are to live in sukkot for seven days. All the native-born in Israel are to live in sukkot, so that your generations may know that I had Bnei-Yisrael to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Adonai your God.”
It was not given so that we can celebrate the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness. After all the reason Israel spent 40 years wandering was because of their unbelief. We are commanded to keep this feast by living in sukkot because living in sukkot is what G-D’s children do when we recognize that G-D has kept His promises. G-D has set us free from bondage. We have been returned to the land of our fathers. Living in sukkot on the Feast of Tabernacles is our way of spending 7 days living in the future. We may still be living within the temporal on Earth, but for those 7 days we live as if the Ephesians 1 has been fulfilled and The Earthly and the Heavenly are together. Or put another way we live by faith Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.
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.