Recently I dialogued with a famous New Testament Theologian from England. Our discussion centered on Israel and the Church. He was “replacement theology” oriented (the Church is now the ongoing meaning of Israel, the true Israel of God, and that ethnic Israel no longer has any claim to the status of God’s elect people). We spent much time on many passages, but he was not convinced.
Toward the end of our dialogue, I spoke about my hope of when Israel as a nation turns to Yeshua, it will lead to the conversion of the nations of the world. Indeed, it will lead to His return and world redemption. He was astonished that I thought that there would be a mass conversion of the nations after the tribulation and the judgments of the wrath of God (Rev. 16). I was astonished that this was not obvious to him, though I was raised with church teachers that never taught this but had a pessimistic view of the end of this age. However, text after text shows us that the biblical hope is for world redemption. I could fill pages and pages with texts from the Prophets and Psalms to show this. There is no way out of the conclusion. Here are a few such texts.
Isaiah 2 is most amazing. It predicts that all nations will come up to Jerusalem and that the Law would go forth from Zion. The nations beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will no longer learn war. The implications of this are enormous. Isaiah 11 repeats that same hope with the idea that the Messiah is the banner for the nations. Even nature, the animal kingdom, will be elevated to a new level of peace.
Isaiah 45 is sometimes looked at as teaching only that the unconverted are forced to bow the knee to Yeshua. However, the context makes this pessimistic view impossible. The text states, “Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity, a word that will not be revoked. Before Me, every knee will bow, by Me every tongue will swear. They will say of Me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.” Philippians 2 repeats the promise and applies it to Yeshua.
Isaiah 60:3 “Nations will come to your light.” Isaiah 65, Amos 9, Micah 4 and multiple Psalms repeat the hope that the nations as corporate people, will come to the knowledge of God.
Yes, there will be great difficulties before that happens. However, let us keep in mind that the extension of the Kingdom in Yeshua to Israel and the nations will eventually reach this goal of world redemption.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, July 11, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
For Your glory, Lord
No one wants to suffer. In this day and age, we have so many luxuries that we think, “well, why should we have to suffer”? As believers, we have personal access to the God of the universe who can speak one word and heal us instantaneously, provide for us miraculously or create a universe for that matter. So, when we begin to suffer, we cry out to Him for help and if our circumstances don’t change, we think, “what just happened here? Doesn’t He see what I’m going through? Doesn’t He care?”
But what if God is allowing that suffering to do a work inside of us that could not be done through any other means? Or what if God has a greater purpose of salvation through our suffering? After all, wasn’t that what Yeshua went through for us? Yeshua never sinned and never deserved the suffering He endured when He walked the earth. Yet the Bible says that He was well acquainted with sorrow and grief (Isaiah 53:3) and was even separated from His Father when He bore the sins of the world on Himself. Did not Satan himself question Jesus concerning this matter of suffering?
Jesus didn’t need to fast, but He did and He experienced hunger. It was when Jesus was hungry that Satan encouraged Him to use His power to turn the stones into bread. Why suffer if you have the power to change it? Satan then took him to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms and their splendor. “You can have it all, Jesus, and not have to suffer if You will bow and worship me”, Satan said in paraphrase. (See Matthew 4). But this was not the way the Father planned to bring the world salvation. Salvation for all men, women and children would come through Yeshua’s suffering. Remember, Yeshua left His throne to become a human like you and me and He chose this humility and suffering for your freedom and mine. There was a purpose to His suffering.
Many times, this is what happens when we suffer also. Yes, God has all power and all authority over all the principalities and kingdoms of heaven and earth. He can speak one word and alter the course of history. He can heal us instantaneously and there are many times He does! He can open doors to our financial breakthroughs and can rescue us out of horrible relationships and the list of things He can do is literally infinate. Nothing is impossible for Him. But the truth is, His ways are not like our ways. And there is no formula. The only thing we know for sure is that He is good and His ways are perfect. So even when we don’t get what we want, the way we want, and when we want it- it does not mean that He is not hearing our prayers and at work in our situation. It’s just that there are times He chooses to walk through our suffering with us, giving us grace instead of deliverance, perseverance instead of rescue and revelation of who He is instead of the easy way out. When we experience suffering, we can trust the Lord to use it for His glory while we humble ourselves like Yeshua and pray – “Father, not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, July 12, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
Fake news versus real news in Bethlehem
Paul Calvert looks at good news stories from Bethlehem, and the importance of giving to your local community.
We hear a lot about fake news. With all this fake news around, how do we know what is real and what is not?
Thankfully the Bible is not fake news. We can know the truth and the truth will set us free.
Many times news can be set to an agenda, so it can be negative, or create fear, if that fits the agenda.
I see it all the time living here in Bethlehem. Sometimes it can be the truth, but not quite the whole story. There is an agenda attached.
The news generally isn’t positive. After you have sifted through the fake news, then what is left is usually bad news. We don’t often hear encouraging or uplifting news stories, it’s usually doom and gloom, like a mass shooting, or a war.
But living in Bethlehem I see good news all the time. While the mainstream media are focused on rioting in the city, I can see what is really going on, as I live here and often it is good news.
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
My faith transition to believing in Yeshua as Messiah
“Why? Simply because we are still here.”
Over the years I have had many people ask me what was it that brought me from Judaism to Messianic Judaism. In other words, was there a significant event or moment that caused me to go from not believing in Yeshua to believing that He is the Messiah?
Over the years, I have answered that question in different ways as my faith has grown and my understanding of both the Scriptures and myself has increased. The truth is that there was not one thing or event that caused my faith to shift so radically. There in fact were two things.
The first thing was my realization of the miracle of Israel. The very existence of the modern restoration of the ancient nation was my first step toward a faith transition. I say a faith transition because the revelation of the significance of Israel’s very existence was the key to my transition from knowing I was a Jew, a simple acknowledgment of my heritage connection to a people group and culture. This heritage included a faith system and a G-D, which I desperately wanted to believe in, yet was so far from the description of the people I read about in our ancient texts. If it wasn’t for the miraculous re-birth of the nation Israel, I think I would still only be a cultural Jew attending synagogue services, fulfilling lifecycle events, doing so only from a relationship with my people and not from a relationship with G-D.
The miracle of Israel and the subsequent miracles that have not only kept her safe, but brought her to being one of the most significant nations in the world, was what brought me from wanting to believe in the G-D of the Bible to being completely convinced that He not only exists, but is actively fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel.
Once my eyes were opened to the actual tangible reality of the G-D of the Bible and His covenant loyalty, my search to go beyond knowing He is to knowing Him brought me through the pages of the Tanakh, or Old Testament. This journey was facilitated through a friendship with a Christian friend and took more than 9 months of almost daily studying. He understood that I only believed in the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures, and was willing to help me on my search using only those texts. After many months of searching and reading, all done before computers and software were available, I came to the conclusion that Yeshua (Jesus) was not only the Messiah, but that He was G-D. I said as Thomas did before me, “My L-RD and my G-D.” There were many verses that helped me come to this conclusion and various prophetic passages with their fulfillments, but it was the words of a 1st century rabbi and Sanherdrin member that helped me to complete my transition. His words spoke to my heart with the same level of power and completeness that the reality of the miracle of Israel did for my faith in G-D. His words are found in the book of Acts 5:38-39:
So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end; but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice.
The Pharasaic rabbi named Gamaliel spoke these words almost 2,000 years ago and there I was in the year 1981. There were not only still Jewish believers in Yeshua, but there was a growing number of Jews coming to that belief all over the world. Not only were there Jews who believed in Yeshua in 1981, but there has been an unending chain of Jewish believers since Gamaliel spoke those words. Yes, there are also millions of non-Jewish believers in Yeshua, but for me as a Jew, I read these words with the same understanding that connected the words of Scriptures with the reality of history. Gamaliel said if belief in Yeshua was an undertaking of men, it would come to an end. But if it was of G-D, they would not be able to stop it. That day, almost 37 years ago, I looked with my eyes and saw that Jewish believers in Yeshua were still here. I knew it had to be of G-D. Now 37 years later, I shout with a loud voice in agreement with that rabbi so long ago to all of my Jewish mishpocha (family); “We are still here!”
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, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
Sign up for KNI weekly updates
Commentary on Parashat Mattot (Tribes) and Masei (Journeys)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:2–32:42 & 33:1–36:13
In our reading this week, we read two parshiot (two portions) of Scripture, which will conclude our reading from the book of Numbers. As I was reading both portions, I noticed an amazing connection between them regarding the specific instructions which were given to the people of Israel and some important principles for us today.
In my blog on Parashat Mattot (Tribes) from last year, I wrote “God saw the suffering of His people, and in His time, He redeemed them and brought them to the Land He had promised to our Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Land that He described as a ‘good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…’ Yet, the sons of Reuben and Gad (as well as half of the tribe of Menashe) had it “too good” and didn’t want to leave their wealth in order to enter the Promised Land. They saw the plenty that they had and as a result, requested to not move forward with the rest of Israel into the Land which God promised them. Instead of taking hold of God’s promise, they preferred to stay in the same comfortable place they were in”.
There is a lot that I can write about this issue, but one of the main challenges that I find with this story found in Numbers 32:1-42 is not just the fact that they had it too good but rather that they did not trust that what God had for them was better! I also find it frustrating that even Moses compromised here by letting them do as they wanted, rather than insisting they trust God and come to the Land of Promise.
In the reading portion from Parashat Masei, we read how the Land was to be divided among the different tribes (Numbers 34):
Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take inherent of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to inherent it. ‘And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live. ‘And it shall come about that as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.
In the above verses we see God’s very clear and precise instructions regarding entering and inheriting the Land. However, we also see that God instructs Israel to destroy all of the false gods and idol worshiping within the Land. All that the children of Israel needed to do was obey these commands of the Lord, which required that they trust Him. They needed to trust that He knows what is best for them and that He desires the best for them!
The same is true for us present-day followers of Messiah. God has called us to a greater inheritance, which requires us to trust Him; we must trust that He knows what is best for us, and also trust that He desires only the best for us! Furthermore, just like Israel, we are also required to destroy all of the idols in our lives. We must do away with whatever temptations are in our lives so that they will not cause us to fall away from Him and worship false gods.
What is God calling you to? Will you trust Him that He has a better plan for your life, even if you cannot see it clearly at the moment?
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.