What was the religion of Jesus?
Did Jesus ever have a Christmas tree, or go to church on Sunday? Did He ever denigrate the Law of Moses and tell people to stop keeping its precepts and commands? Did Jesus ever abolish the Ten Commandments, and change the Sabbath to Sunday? Did He ever eat pork and shellfish?
The answer is no, He did not.
Jesus- whose name was Yeshua- was a Jew. He not only was a Jew, crucified as the King of the Jews- but is a Jew, and will return as a Jew: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. All His days he practiced Judaism, kept the seventh day Sabbath in the synagogue, and kept all of the Jewish Biblical Holy days, and even the festival of Hannuka (John 10:22). In all His teachings he never suggested creating another religion.
Most writers of the New Testament and all of the apostles of Yeshua were Jews, and did as their Rabbi did by example, practicing Judaism. Peter (Shimon), chief of the apostles, when shown a vision of unclean animals, said that no unkosher food had ever passed his lips. Then he himself interpreted the vision to have nothing to do with food, but of bringing the Gospel to the Gentles. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, kept the Torah, and even sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem. When accused of teaching others to not keep the Law, James (Jacob) replied, “Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law”(acts 21:24), and he described himself only thus: “I am a Jew” (Acts 21:39). When in Ephesus Paul declared that he must return to Jerusalem to keep the coming Biblical festival (Acts 18:21), probably Shavuot (Pentecost). And in Rome he declared to his Jewish brethren there, “I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers.”
At the Jerusalem council, when the apostles discussed the question of whether the Gentiles who had come to the Messiah must keep the Torah, it was declared “to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Law.” (Acts 21:20). And Paul told the Gentile Christians in Rome that they are grafted into the olive tree of Israel through the Messiah (Romans 11). At the same time it was decided that Gentiles could learn the Torah in the synagogues in their cities, though not obliged to be circumcised (Acts 15:19-21.
It was Jesus who told us, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18-20).
Though Christianity indeed practices the rite of communion, it was instituted by the Messiah as part of the Passover meal, a central holy day of the religion of Judaism, which in fact was the religion of Jesus.
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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Over 1000 Japanese believers gather to hear Bible teaching from a Jewish Perspective
There is a vibrant body of believers in Japan who are studying the Bible from the Jewish perspective and have a love for the Jewish people and Israel! They are associated with Harvest Time Ministries and recently, around 1,100 of them attended the 9th Harvest Time Ministries Second Coming of Messiah Conference held in Osaka(Oct. 31), Nagoya(Nov. 1) and Tokyo(Nov. 3) to learn from Messianic Rabbi Larry Feldman and his wife, Fran.
A Japanese Pastor Meets an American Messianic Jewish Scholar in the Philippines
In 1989 Pastor Kenichi Nakagawa, the founder and leader of Harvest Time Ministries, met Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the founder of Ariel Ministries, at a conference in the Philippines. This was a turning point in Pastor Nakagawa’s ministry. He comprehended that Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s teaching of the Bible from the Jewish perspective was the approach he must learn and share with the Japanese people so he dedicated himself to relearning how to teach the Bible and laid out the philosophy and principles that have since guided Harvest Time Ministries.
Philosophy of Harvest Time Ministries
We teach and comprehend the Bible from the Jewish perspective. Based on a thorough understanding of the time, culture, and context, we interpret the Bible using the literal grammatical-historical method.
There is a huge gap in time, culture, and geography between the Bible’s authors and us. The meaning of something that would have been easily understood by those living at the time of writing is now difficult for us in the 21st century to comprehend. For that reason it is essential for us to learn the historical background of the Bible.
Further, since the Bible was written in the context of Jewish culture it is necessary to have knowledge about the manners, customs and languages of that time.
Why is Harvest Time Ministries so passionate about teaching the Bible?
Harvest Time Ministries believes in the power of the Word and understands Japanese culture. There is a long history of the gospel being proclaimed in Japan with the percentage of Christians remaining stuck at around 1% of the population. This should not be interpreted to mean that Japanese will not accept the message of the Bible. There are some countries which have a national passion for singing. There are some countries where people love to do community activities. The approach to evangelism is determined by the characteristics of the people.
So, what do Japanese love to do? Japanese love to study! This is a characteristic of Japanese culture. In this context, Harvest Time Ministries approaches the Bible straightforwardly and focuses on seriously studying all aspects of it with the belief that understanding the Bible will bring about a true spiritual awakening to Japan.
Connecting Japanese Believers with the Messianic Community #1
Harvest Time Ministries has forged a strong relationship with Ariel Ministries and in 2001 began a major activity called the Fruchtenbaum Seminar. Each seminar was 2 days long with Dr. Fruchtenbaum teaching and Pastor Nakagawa interpreting and elaborating. Every year around 450 people attended.
Over the course of 15 years attendees learned about the following themes:
|2016||What is Dispensationalism?|
|2015||The Climax of Eschatology|
|2014||The Rapture, Great Tribulation, and Destiny of the Jewish People|
|2013||What the Bible teaches about the Millennium Kingdom|
|2012||What the Bible teaches about life after death|
|2011||What the Bible teaches about salvation|
|2010||Angelology, Satanology, Demonology|
|2009||Eschatology and Israel: A Study of Romans 9-11|
|2008||God’s Program of Salvation for Mankind|
|2007||Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament|
|2005||The Life of Messiah from the Jewish Perspective|
|2003||John’s Book of Revelation|
|2002||The Eight Covenants of the Bible|
|2001||The Historical Unfolding of the Abrahamic Covenant|
Connecting Japanese Believers with the Messianic Community #2:
Harvest Time Ministries Second Coming of Messiah Conference
In 2010 a second major activity, the Harvest Time Ministries Second Coming of Messiah Conference was started to support the faith of Japanese believers who are anticipating Messiah’s return. Its aims are to ignite a spiritual awakening in Japan, to connect with the Messianic community and pray for the salvation of the Jewish people and to prepare for the Second Coming of Messiah.
The conference has had a distinguished list of speakers from the Messianic community addressing the following topics:
|The time of the salvation of the Jewish people is near – now, the prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled one by one before our eyes-|
|8||2017||Eitan Bar||Jewish evangelism in the Internet age|
|7||2016||Irving Salzman||An Orthodox Jew who met Messiah shares his views about eschatology|
|6||2015||Mottel Baleston||From the Garden of Eden to the new heaven and new earth|
|A Jew and an Arab who know Christ|
|The gospel revealed in the 5 books of Moses|
|Kanzo Uchimura’s ministry concerning the Second Coming of Messiah and today’s Messianic Jewish movement|
|2||2011||Noam Hendren||Satan’s strategy and God’s grace|
|1||2010||Noam Hendren||God’s plan of salvation for the world|
9th Harvest Time Ministries Second Coming of Messiah Conference
This year’s invited speakers were Messianic Rabbi Larry Feldman of Chosen People Ministries, who is currently serving Shuvah Yisrael congregation in Irvine, California and the President of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and his wife, Fran.
Fran Feldman opened the conference by sharing her testimony of growing up in a Jewish home and how first her brothers, then her mother and finally she and her father came to faith in Messiah Yeshua. Hiroshi Nakagawa of Harvest Time Ministries USA interpreted for her. Her story resonated with many of Japanese believers who are also 1st generation believers in their family.
Rabbi Feldman spoke on:
- Presenting G-d’s Plan For Israel From the Jewish Scriptures (Tanach),
- G-d’s Promises to Israel, Presenting Messiah From The Jewish Scriptures (Tanach), and
- A Biblical Basis for Jewish Evangelism
Rabbi Feldman says this about their experience:
This was the first time that Fran and I came to Japan and we were not sure what to expect but were very surprised and blessed by the entire trip. To begin with the ministry was wonderful. The three meetings in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo were very well attended. The worship was godly and spiritual. Samuel Kan’s music and singing was uplifting and encouraging. People were very receptive and diligent in their desire to learn the Scriptures. The Spirit of God truly seems to bring us all together and overcome any cultural differences. The whole trip was just a complete joy and blessing to my wife and myself. I look forward in the future to the ministry in Japan.
Views of the Participants
After the program, many participants wrote their impressions. These are some of the reasons people attended and are interested in Jewish evangelism.
- The 900+ messages on Harvest Time Ministries’ Message Station Internet site are interesting. Harvest Time Website: https://harvesttime.tv/
- Harvest Time Ministries teaches the Bible using the literal grammatical-historical method and from the Jewish perspective.
- Went on the Harvest Time Ministries’ Holy Land Tour and met Messianic Jewish believers in Israel.
- Had an experience with a Christian organization like Bridges for Peace
- Church prays for the salvation of Israel
- Interested in eschatology
Two responses highlight the need for and the fruit of Harvest Time Ministries connecting Japanese believers with the Messianic community through bringing teachers to Japan and going to Israel:
- Up until now I have not had a very good impression of Jews. My impression came from what I heard about the Palestinian problem and Jews being focused on wealth. This prevented me from loving them. But, I felt through experiencing today’s conference that God has given me an opportunity to repent. I personally know several Jews and will now pray for their salvation and happiness.
- I first learned about Jewish evangelism when I started listening to Pastor Nakagawa’s messages. Before hearing about it I had absolutely no interest in the Jewish people. Now I consider them to be precious. I pray from my heart for the salvation of the Jewish people. I have attended every Second Coming of Messiah Conference. Since I came to believe in the second coming of Messiah I live each day with a feeling of peace.
“White for the Harvest”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”
For the past 20 years Harvest Time Ministries has been inviting distinguished Messianic Bible teachers to Japan to give Japanese believers a first-hand experience of the Bible being a Jewish book and to have Messianic teachers get a first-hand experience of the support Japanese believers have for the Jewish people and Israel. It is appropriate to conclude this article with a word from Pastor Nakagawa about his experience doing this ministry and his expectations for the future.
The average Japanese considers the Bible to be a sacred book of a Western religion that is difficult to understand. But, once I started teaching people how to read the Bible from the Jewish perspective I saw more and more people understanding it.
Our ministry began with the vision: Bible Study will ignite a Spiritual Awakening in Japan. We now see this vision steadily being realized. A spiritual awakening in Japan is underway! We pray and ask for your prayers for the season of Messiah to come to Japan.
Daniel Eichhorst has lived in Japan for 35 years. He is currently teaching English at Tohoku University in Sendai. In 2015 he and his wife were baptized by Pastor Nakagawa and they are active in Harvest Time Ministries. They traveled to Israel with Pastor Nakagawa on the Harvest Time Ministries Holy Land Tour in 2016. They have also attended Ariel Ministries’ Camp Shoshanah in Keeseville, NY two times.
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The general atmosphere here in Israel during the Autumn “high holiday” biblical feast season is one of repentance. Many people (even atheists) ask each other for forgiveness, at least on a superficial level, leading up to the Day of Atonement.
In Matthew 18:15-22 we read Yeshua’s teaching on forgiveness. “…if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother…” (NKJV). This is not forgiveness between man and God but between man and man. Here the person who has been hurt must go to the one who caused the damage.
What is the damage caused through hurt and unresolved issues? Anger, bitterness, resentment, and even physical pain and sickness are a few of the results we may experience when we’ve been hurt.
What are the stages we go through from the point of being hurt to the point of having the ability to go to our brother as Yeshua teaches?
First, someone hurts us.
Then, we must recognize how we are reacting to that hurt. What are the emotions we are experiencing? What are we thinking? If we approach the offending person while in this initial state of turmoil, it will likely only cause more trouble.
Once we are aware of our own condition, we must seek help from the Lord through prayer. What is the help we need in this situation? Part of it is certainly to forgive them. However, we need to also look at our motivation. Is it coming from a place of unhealthy fear? Or, are we looking to “prove” ourselves superior to, or more spiritual than, the other person? Neither of these are good motivations and can be an indication of the condition of our own heart.
After we have gone through the above stages, then the desire to forgive the person who hurt us can come from a place of humility, as we remember that Yeshua while on the cross asked the Father, “Father forgive them…” Who were the ones whom He asked the Father to forgive? His executioners! Why did He ask the Father to forgive them? “…for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Another tool we can use in working through our hurts is putting ourselves in the other person’s place. What would I want them to do if I had hurt them? This is also a good time to consider those we have hurt and think about what we have or have not done to make amends.
Only now comes the right time in this process to go to our brother. This is not truly possible without Yeshua and the covering of His love. Our hope is that God will cover the nation of Israel and all nations, with Yeshua’s love; and that they will see Him – the one who is the atonement for our sins.
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, November 2018, and reposted with permission.
Guy and his wife, Tali, founded and lead Harvest of Asher, a Messianic congregation of Jewish and Gentile believers in Akko, Israel.
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Messianic Jews are not Antisemitic!
One of the mini-controversies to erupt in the wake of the horrific Antisemitic murders in a Pittsburgh synagogue was a candidate inviting a Messianic Jewish leader to pray at a campaign event at which Vice-President Pence was present. Afterwards, both in the media and on social media, Messianic Jews were characterized as Antisemitic. Are Messianic Jews hateful of their fellow Jews?
At the outset, I don’t want to comment on the wisdom of having a Messianic Jew pray at a political campaign event or even if such an invitation should be offered or accepted. That’s not my concern. The question is, are these public characterizations of Messianic Jews as Antisemitic fair or true?
Some Gentile Christians are shocked that anyone would make an accusation of Antisemitism against Messianic Jews because Gentile Christians often don’t know or understand the history of Christian persecution of the Jewish people. That’s why Messianic Jews are vilified this way. Nevertheless, the history of the past does not make this charge true in the present. Here’s why it’s a mistake to call Jewish followers of Jesus Antisemitic.
First, Jewish people who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) do so out of conviction not convenience. In the past, some Jewish people adopted Christianity to avoid the persecution that came with being Jewish. In some cases this provided protection from Antisemitic mobs while later on it offered opportunities to advance in society without the social stigma of being Jewish. But these are not motivations for contemporary Messianic Jews. Most of us, having grown up in Jewish homes, valued our culture and heritage. And by studying the Scriptures, we have become convinced that Yeshua is the fulfillment of the messianic hope of the Hebrew Bible. Our faith is the sincere outworking of the promises God made to Israel. We are convinced that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah and our faith in Him does not eliminate our identification with the Jewish people. In fact it enhances it.
Second, Jewish people who believe in Yeshua identify with the love of Yeshua not the past hate of so-called Christians. While many Christians today are unaware of this history of Christian Antisemitism, most Jewish people are equally unaware of Yeshua’s love and concern for the Jewish people. As Yeshua taught in the synagogues of Galilee, He looked at the crowds of Jewish people around Him, “and He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:35-36). In the very next chapter of Matthew, when Yeshua sent out His disciples, He instructed them to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6). It wasn’t only the impoverished Jewish masses that Yeshua loved. When he met an affluent leader of the Jewish people, Yeshua looked at him and “loved him” (Mark 10:21). Yeshua even loved the Jewish leadership that opposed Him. He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and said, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matt 23:37). Yeshua loves the Jewish people in a special way and so do His Jewish followers who identify with Him as their Messiah.
Third, Jewish people who believe in Yeshua stand in solidarity with the Jewish community not with the vile haters of the Jewish people. Messianic Jews have always been subject to Antisemitism not proponents of it. When the Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jewish people of Rome, Jewish followers of Yeshua, like Priscilla and Aquila, were expelled with the rest of the Jewish community (Acts 18:1-2). In the modern era, Jewish followers of Yeshua in Germany and Eastern Europe went to Hitler’s ghettos, concentration camps, and gas chambers as did the rest of the Jewish people there. Messianic Jews not only suffer with the Jewish community but they also boldly oppose Antisemitism. Jewish followers of Yeshua are some of the most outspoken supporters of the state of Israel, defending it against the legion of haters that attack it. And when there is a terrorist attack there or one in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Messianic Jews weep and are just as brokenhearted as the rest of the Jewish community.
It is mistaken and false to label Messianic Jews as Antisemitic. In their desire to be sensitive, Gentile Christians should not be taken in by these charges. C.S. Lewis had a special insight into what it meant for a Jew to believe in Yeshua because he married such a Jew, Joy Davidman Gresham. Lewis said the Jewish follower of Yeshua “is the only normal human being in the world. To him, in the first instance, the promises were made, and he has availed himself of them. He calls Abraham his father by hereditary right as well as by divine courtesy. He has taken the whole syllabus in order, as it was set; eaten the dinner according to the menu. Everyone else is, from one point of view, a special case, dealt with under emergency regulations … we christened gentiles, are after all the graft, the wild vine, possessing ‘joys not promised to our birth’; though perhaps we do not think of this so often as we might.” It would be a good idea for traditional Jews and Christians to adopt this perspective.
This article originally appeared on Dr. Michael Rydelnik’s blog, November 10, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Dr. Michael Rydelnik is Professor of Jewish Studies and Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He is the Host/Bible teacher on Open Line with Dr. Michael Rydelnik, answering listener Bible questions every Saturday morning for more than 200 stations across America. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised in an observant Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. Michael trusted in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah in high school and began teaching the Bible almost immediately. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute, Azusa Pacific University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where his doctoral research focused on the messianic hope of the Hebrew Bible.
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2nd Peter – Introduction
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord
Peter was/is the Apostle to the circumcision; that is, to the Jewish people, especially to those who believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, the Son of God. In his first epistle he clearly writes that he is writing to the pilgrims or sojourners of the dispersion (diaspora; galut) – to those Messianic Jews not living in the promised land of Israel, who have been chosen to obedience through the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. (1 Pt 1:2) God exiled His people because of the unbelief and disobedience to His covenant and its law. For those of us who do live here now, we also see that although many Jewish people do live here, the large majority of them are still in spiritual exile, still in disobedience to YHVH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.
In his second epistle, Peter mentions that he is writing to them again. Yet, of course, the teaching and exhortations and warnings and hopes in both letters are applicable to all believers, whether Jewish or Gentile. Gentile believers are brought into the commonwealth of Israel. So it is also with the Apostle Paul’s letters: he was commissioned by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and that he would also speak to the Jews. All believers need to read the epistles in the New Testament — and the Old Testament, too — as if they are all relevant to themselves, while also paying attention to the details, which may make more or less sense, depending from which background we come, such as male or female.
I find it worth reminding us about Peter’s ministry to the Messianic Jews in particular, that he neither preached nor wrote ANYTHING about keeping the Sabbath, eating kosher, or keeping the holidays. (Neither, by the way, did James, who also wrote his epistle to the twelve Israeli tribes in the dispersion. There are no lost tribes to YHVH, God of Israel!)
Peter wrote his epistles at a time when heavy persecution was about to come upon those who were called Christians, followers of the Christ/Messiah, for their faith in a King who required their primary and utmost allegiance. (1 Pt 4:16) Patriotism to our earthly nation is not the evidence of being a true disciple of Yeshua/Jesus, even if we, in obedience to Him, are usually model citizens or residents or tourists, and seek the peace and good of whatever city or country we live in. (1 Pt 4:15; 2:11-17; Rom 13; 1 Tim 2:1-6; Jer 29:4-7) Peter addresses these issues for believers in the face of severe tribulation for our faith.
He is writing to the Jewish believers in the dispersion. (1 Pt 1:1; 2:11-12, 25; 2 Pt 3:1) The Holy Spirit is maintaining through these Scriptures that the Church and Israel are related, yet distinct. God has not finished with Jews, or with Israel, His chosen people and land: there is no valid “replacement theology”, and believing and obedient Christians have a better hope and better promises by virtue of our new birth from Above by the Spirit of God, already being forgiven for all our sins through repentance and faith in the gospel. We always need the blood of the Lamb and the Word of God to cleanse us, since we are never, in this body this side of the resurrection, perfectly obedient or faithful. Just like Peter!
Peter is writing to us about how we are to practically live in holiness and with love in countries and a world among people hostile to the truth of who Jesus Christ is — even within the churches — as we keep our focus on the coming of the Lord and of His kingdom, and on the New Heavens and New Earth for eternity, where our eternal ‘homeland’ will be.
Peter’s second letter is similar to Paul’s second letters: they are written in view of the failure to live up to God’s holy and righteous standard, and to the evil that is coming into the world and the churches more and more. At the end of the age, which we are living in, these conditions are rapidly coming to their maximum level, which will bring God’s judgments – first in His own household; afterwards to those outside. This in order to obtain for Himself in love a holy, spotless, blameless Bride for the Lamb, and a holy and restored people for Himself. By doing so, the Father’s name will be sanctified and glorified, as will that of the Lord Jesus/Yeshua, and so, too, the saints saved by His grace and power!
Ch 1: Peter states several times that he is reminding us of things that we already know. (2 Pt 1:12,13,15; 3:1,2,5,8) We need to be reminded, because we too easily forget all that God has done for us, and all that He has promised to do. Peter tells us that our best guard against falling away is to actively develop in us by the grace and power of God the divine character – the image of the Son of God, who is the exact image of our Father in Heaven. (2Pt 1:2-11) We are to strengthen ourselves in God. Our hope in Christ is much better than what Jewish people under the Old Covenant expect. Through the gospel, and the New Covenant, we find that our joy in life is knowing God Himself personally – God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Ch 2: In the church – the Body of Christ – the same things that happened within Israel also threatens us: false teachers, false prophets come in to try to deceive us, and even by those who supposedly had been “saved”. The primary heresies, which seem to me that these teach, are that YHVH is not the only true God; that Jesus/Yeshua is not God who came to us in the flesh, nor is He physically coming again to judge all unrighteousness and to rule and reign; that YHVH God will not fulfill all of His covenantal promises; that Jesus is not the only way to God the Father; teaching immorality regarding sex, and the unrighteous pursuit and use of money; and that the Bible is not the authoritative Word of God to all people. (2 Pt 2:1; 3:3-7)
Ch 3: Peter also takes us beyond the Millennial Kingdom – the 1000 year reign of Messiah after He returns – to when there will be a new creation of a new heavens and new Earth, where righteousness will dwell. This creation is “very good”; the new creation will be perfect! This creation is “very good”; the new creation will be perfect! Finally! He warns us against complacency regarding the actual return of the Lord, as if nothing has changed, and there are no signs of His coming. Yet Jesus gave us signs to watch for and pray about to let us whom He loves know and prepare for.
We are not to fear persecution, but to rejoice in the glory set before us of being the Bride of Messiah, and of the salvation of our souls and the resurrection of our bodies. Trials and tribulations produce patience and perseverance in the believer, as we learn to put our trust and hope in our Savior. If we do fear persecution in ourselves, all the more we need to strengthen ourselves in God: He is in us, and is with us; our Father loves us with an everlasting love; our Good Shepherd knows His sheep and leads us to life; the Author and Finisher of our faith has gone before us and is now sitting at the right hand of God, interceding for us.
Peter did not expect that the Lord would return “at any moment”; he knew that he was going to die soon; and he knew– or, the Holy Spirit, who inspired Peter’s words and quotes, knew — that the Lord’s longsuffering would last for about 2000 years, or about two days. (2 Pt 3:8-10; Hos 6:1-3; Ps 90:4)
How are we to live knowing these things? Both of Peter’s epistles are looking to the end of our life of faith, the end of our life without seeing but believing – that we would be a praise to His name at the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ, when all shall see Him and submit to His good and righteous rule and authority, in the love of the Father. (1 Pt 1:7, 13)
There is much theology in Peter’s letters, and he was not a ‘learned man’. But there is a practical side to theology, which every believer should process: knowing God is the assurance of our salvation.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, November 10, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.