Christianity, current events, God, religion, Uncategorized

From Rome to Corinth, and Back Again: Reclaiming What Was Taken from Us

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10: 16, NASB Update)

When Paul wrote to the Roman church, its congregation was composed of Jews and Gentiles. It was no doubt Roman Jews in Jerusalem during Pentecost that carried the Gospel back to Rome and was a factor in starting this church. It would be nice if the Gospel message of unity was in full effect in the Roman church, but there was rivalry between Jews and Gentiles. The birth pangs of division were starting to sprout to be felt, so Paul had to remind the Roman church that “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him” (Rom 10: 12, NASB Update).

 
If the Roman church was experiencing the birth pangs of division, the Corinthian church had delivered the baby. Paul writes:

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1: 11-13, NASB Update)

This persuasion did not come from the Lord or the word of God, but from man-made doctrines that cause division and contention. We still see this division today. If you visit a Baptist church, you find a congregation of Baptists. The same holds true for Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc. Most of the time, the only people who are not of the same persuasion are visitors. But let me ask you this, when was the last time you saw a Jewish believer in your congregation? In all of my days in church, I can honestly say I have never seen it, and this ought not to be.

 
Where are the Jews?

 
After the Holy Spirit filled believers on Pentecost and Peter gave his sermon, the believers returned home taking the word with them, but they only spoke to Jews. Later God gave Peter a revelation about the Gentiles; they were to be fellow heirs of salvation! This was confirmed when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just like He did in Jerusalem with the Jews (Acts 10: 1-48). God’s will is to tear down the wall between Jew and Gentile and so create one flock, as His word said. Unity is something the Adversary doesn’t like, and soon he was fanning the flames of rivalry between believing Jews and Gentiles. The split became a chasm when church leadership argued that because the Jews rebelled against the Savior and had Him killed, therefore God transferred the covenants and promises from the Jews to the Church; they also changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday to make a clear distinction between Jews and Gentiles. This is part of replacement theology, and it is a sickness that still affects the Church today. It has a terrible legacy; Church leadership used this man-made doctrine to justify persecuting the Jews instead of loving them as the Lord commanded. Martin Luther did try to reconcile the Church with the Jews in his early writings, but later he became anti-Semitic and argued for synagogues to be destroyed and Jewish wealth to be confiscated. His latter writings were so poisonous that they were used by Hitler’s Third Reich to justify the “final solution,” which was the extermination of the Jews. Centuries of oppression and persecution by those who called themselves Christians has caused Jews to turn away the Gospel message. Even mentioning the name of Jesus can provoke a strong reaction with some people.

 
The word of God tells us that there will always be a believing remnant, and so there has always been a believing Jewish remnant: “The Messianic Jews.” I believe what God wants in these last days is to depart from the Corinthian church and its many divisions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Nazarenes, et al.) and again become one flock in which Jews and Gentiles worship the Savior together as they did in Rome (minus the rivalry, of course).

 
What you have been missing

 
Replacement theology has done a lot of damage, one of which was causing the Church to disregard the Feasts of the Lord. It’s been argued that since we are under grace, and not the Law, we don’t need to be concerned about such things. “That would be legalistic” is something I have heard. May I say to you friend, you’ve been misled and missed a great blessing. It’s premature to dismiss the feasts as something we don’t need to worry about anymore. Here’s what I mean.

 
It was written in the Torah that the men of Israel were to assemble in Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Two thousand years ago the Jews saw the Passover fulfilled when Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. On Pentecost the Jews saw Joel’s prophecy fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers. The Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled, and one day when the people gather in Jerusalem, the Lord will fulfill it before their eyes just like He did on Passover and Pentecost. Wouldn’t you like to be on hand when that happens? Until the Lord returns, each time the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) is celebrated, it’s like a dress rehearsal for the real event. With that in mind, here is my recommendation.

 
You are invited!

 
I know this will be short notice for many of you, but I feel it strongly to make you aware of the upcoming holy days. Most of us have never been to these celebrations and they have passed unnoticed, but I hope that will be different after this year because I am inviting you. Rosh Hashanah (New Year) will begin at sundown October 2 and end on the evening of October 4. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) will begin at sundown on October 11 and end

the sukkah

Celebrating Tabernacles

on the evening of October 12, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) begins at sundown on October 16 and ends the evening of October 23. I would strongly encourage everyone to find a Messianic congregation and observe these events this year and see what you have been missing out on. These events are part of our heritage as believers, but replacement theology has caused the Church to disregard them. Let’s reclaim them and experience them first hand, and in so doing we help restore the unity of the one flock that the Lord established. If you are able to participate, please share your experience with others (and I would like to hear about it too!). Be blessed!

 

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Rewinding the Torah scroll

Elul 23, 5776

 
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3: 27-28, NASB Update)

 

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Christianity, current events, prophecy

The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?

Iyar 1, 5775

Salutations and shalom,

We have just seen the appearance of the third of four blood moons in this tetrad which occurred on Passover, 4 Apr 2015. There remains one more blood moon for later this year. This is also a shemitah year, and as we speak wise virgins all over the world are going to the market place to stock up on oil. We don’t want to be counted as foolish virgins who were unprepared for the Bridegroom, so if you will give me a brief audience, I would like to say something about this.

What was the reason why the foolish virgins were not admitted to the wedding feast? Let’s look at the answer of the Bridegroom as they pounded on the door. He didn’t tell them they couldn’t come in just because they were late; But He answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you’ Matt 25:12 (ESV). Think about that for a moment. He didn’t admit them because they were running late, but because they didn’t have an intimate relationship with Him. He said He didn’t know them (also Matt 7: 21-23), which means that He didn’t abide in them, and they didn’t abide in Him. If they did, wouldn’t they have properly prepared for the Bridegroom by getting the oil they needed? They were too busy doing other things to be bothered with getting the oil they would need. And what exactly is this oil? Oil has been symbolic of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and not having oil can be a picture of a Christian who has drifted away from a walk with God to becoming friends with the world. I believe in this case the oil represents our relationship with Yeshua; we either have it or we don’t. If we have a relationship with Yeshua, we hear His voice and do His will. His appearance is expected and we know what to do to be ready. In short: Getting your oil means making sure your relationship with the Lord is alive and well, not on life support. Cultivate your relationship with the Lord now while you have a season of peace because when it gets dark, no one can work. Draw as close to Him as you can get now, and make all other considerations secondary. The most important thing you can do to prepare for the coming Tribulation is to have a strong relationship with God; nothing else will sustain you through the times to come.

It’s important that we hear what God is saying in these times; four blood moons, a shemitah year, and turmoil in the Middle East about Israel are signs we need to get close to God. The good news is He will tell us what we need to know:

“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

Amos 3:7-8 (ESV)

The persuasion that caused the foolish virgins to miss their appointment with the Bridegroom did not come from Yeshua, but from the world, the flesh, and the devil. They were drawn away by contrary desires that proved to be their undoing. Don’t underestimate the Adversary to distract you from seeking God; he can keep you so busy with the cares of the world you can miss the most important date in human history. I urge you beloved reader, do not get talked out of spending time with God. Fight for every second you can be with Him; you won’t regret it!

I have recently seen a video presentation I would like to share with you; it’s about the four blood moons, the shemitah year, and events in the Middle East. Let’s remember Amos’ words: God reveals what’s going to happen so people can prepare. This video features contributions from Johnathan Cahn, Mark Blitz, Bill Salas, and Perry Stone and is just over an hour in length. If you are unfamiliar with the shemitah and the blood moons, this is a great resource to get started.

https://vimeo.com/122882267

For your information, I have included some dates to keep in mind for the rest of the year. I am not saying what will happen on these dates, but given the times we live in, they may yield important events as prophecy unfolds. These dates also include astronomical events. All dates are for 2015:

May 3                          Second Passover

May 23                        Shavuot (Pentecost or Feast of Weeks. Israel receives the Torah)

July 4-25                     Three Weeks (Mourning the destruction of the Temple and exile)

July 25                         9th of Av (The spies give a bad report about the Promised Land)

July 31                        15th of Av (A festival of future redemption)

September 13              29th of Elul (Debt cancellation Deuteronomy 15: 1-18)

September 13-15         Rosh Hashanah (New Year)

September 14              Partial solar eclipse

September 22-23         Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement Leviticus 16: 30)

Sept 27-Oct 4              Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)

September 28              Super blood moon visible over Jerusalem

December 6-14            Chanukah (Commemorates the rededication of the Temple)

I hope that this information is helpful. Be blessed and get your oil; in other words, draw close to the Lord!

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Uncategorized

Easter or Passover? A tale of two calendars

If you ask a Christian about Jesus’ resurrection, he will probably say that happened on Easter. If you ask a Messianic Jewish believer the same question, he will mention the Passover. On the surface one may say it’s just a case of different names for the same event, but it is more than that. The picture we form in our mind of Easter is much different from that of Passover. Easter invokes images of Easter rabbits and egg hunts, while Passover brings to mind the death of Egypt’s first born and Pharaoh’s expulsion of Israel. How did we get from God’s deliverance and the resurrection to Easter bunnies? Does it even matter? I think it does.

When we ask “what day is it today?” we resort to the calendar. When we search for the date, we usually find out the date and month on the calendar. If a particular day is a national holiday, it may also be noted on the calendar, but that’s all our calendar tells us: A day, month, and if the day is a holiday. There are two religious dates on our calendar, Easter and Christmas. Both of these dates have drifted far away from their original meanings. Easter bunnies and Santa Claus are not the same as the resurrection and birth of Christ. Other than these dates, our calendar is bereft of any reference of God. We really don’t “bump into God” at all on our calendar. If we think of our calendar as an appointment book, God isn’t even on it.

On the other hand, the Jewish calendar is filled with divine reminders and appointments. For example, this is week six of counting the omer for 2014 (or 5774). Passover marks the birth of Israel as a nation and is also the beginning of counting the omer. This year counting the omer started on April 20 and will end on June 7. The forty-nine days of counting the omer are a time of cleansing and purification from the influences of Egypt before the Torah was given. Pentecost (Shavuot) will be on Sunday June 8, in which the people become married to God at Sinai. This is the month of Iyar, and it is an acronym that means “I am God your healer,” meaning our ultimate healing comes from God. Do you get any divine connection when you think of the month of May?

There is much more than this. Time would fail if I told of all the other divine encounters that populate the Jewish calendar such as Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Chanukah, et al. Looking up a date on this calendar is much more than just finding a date. The divine significance of dates and months on this calendar is openly acknowledged and celebrated. On the other hand, many of the dates on our calendar are made up of days that pass with little or no fanfare. Here is a short list: National Dentist’s Day (March 6), Administrative Professionals Day (April 26), Pi Day (March 14), National Wear Red Day (February 7), and National Cupcake Day (February 24). We don’t see much of God on our calendar, do we? When we look up a date on our calendar, we look to see what day it is, when a holiday is coming up, what day a birthday or anniversary falls on, but nothing about God. It’s like God has been effaced from our calendar.

In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye the milkman attributes Jewish traditions as the way their community kept its balance through the years. Because of their traditions, everyone knew who they were, and what God expected of them. An important part of this is the Jewish calendar with its day to day reminders of who God is and what He has done for His people. This is an important part of our spiritual equipping and should not be neglected. Time is short; we would all be benefited by returning to a calendar that reminds about God, not Cupcakes, Easter bunnies and Santa Claus.

Iyar 27, 5774 (May 27, 2014)

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