Sunday, April 27, 2014
How should Christians who have been saved by a Jewish Messiah look upon the Jewish people who have endured so much suffering down through history? Isaiah prophesies our role: "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" says your God. "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins" (Is. 40:1, 2).
Basilea Schlink, in her book, Israel, My Chosen People, shows how Jesus identifies with His people, how His suffering on the cross is a prophetic picture of the suffering of the Jews in history, especially during the Holocaust. As part of the German Evangelical Church during World War II, Mother Basilea led a movement of repentance for Germany's national crime against the Jews. Her words from over 50 years ago are still very timely: "Now is the time for the New Testament people to awaken - now before the last hour comes, and with it judgment. Today let us take our place at Jesus' side and look upon His people with His eyes, full of love and mercy. Then our hearts would ache to see this chosen people of God wandering through the centuries, wretched, despised, shunned, ostracized and afflicted with pain like the suffering Servant of God in Isaiah 53. Then, looking on them, we would be reminded of Him.
"Israel, unintentionally and unwittingly, has become a spectacle before heaven and mankind, because she bears the features of the Servant of God. The sight of her should continually remind Christians of Jesus, despised, destitute, covered with bruises, afflicted, hated, persecuted, tormented, and hounded to death. Even if these marks borne by the people of God also betoken the chastening hand of God stretched out in judgment upon sinners, the fact remains that by these very dealings God proclaims Himself to be the Holy One of Israel.
"We as Christians are to hold in high esteem this people who bears such a close resemblance to Jesus. The sight of the Jews as an oppressed and afflicted people crossing the face of the earth, despised and rejected, should make us think of those words of Jesus about the destitute and needy: 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me' (Matt. 25:40). Who matches so accurately our Lord's description 'the least of these my brethren' as His people Israel? Who has suffered so much contempt from all nations down through the ages? Who has been so rejected? From whom did men turn away their faces? Who has been persecuted and tormented with such burning hatred? Who has been wounded and tortured to death so often as this His people? Here, indeed, are the brethren of the Lord Jesus."
This dear Christian sister's message of repentance made an impact on the Christian conscience in Germany, changing age-old anti-Semitic prejudices. Unfortunately, not all came to repentance. It is a documented fact that many Catholic priests gave aid to some Nazis fleeing Europe to start their lives over with new identities. Nazis evaded justice with the help of the Vatican and the Red Cross! Monasteries were used as safe havens for them. Read about it here: Nazis on the Run. TRUE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS HID THE JEWS, NOT THE NAZIS!
Israel will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, tomorrow, April 28, with a two-minute siren and ceremonies at the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The focus is "1944: From Extermination to Liberation, the Jews' Situation Exactly 70 Years Ago." See details: Holocaust Memorial Day
[Basilea Schlink, Israel, My Chosen People (Old Tappan, NJ: Chosen Books, 1987), pp. 33-34.]
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Paul said, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have died" (I Cor. 15:20). This corresponds to the Feast of Firstfruits - "... bring a sheaf of the firstfuits [of barley] of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it ..." (Lev. 23:10-16).
Yeshua was crucified and died at the moment the Passover lambs were slain, at 3:00 p.m. on Nisan 14. The next day began a seven-day feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first day, Nisan 15, was a Sabbath. Then there was the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. The Feast of Firstfruits was "on the morrow after the Sabbath" (the weekly Sabbath), so that Feast day fell on Sunday. That was Resurrection Day! In order to account for "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth," as Yeshua said would be the "sign of Jonah" who was three days and three nights in the whale's belly" (Matt. 12:39-40), the Feast of Firstfruits, fulfilled in Yeshua's Resurrection, would have to be Nisan 18.
This calculation would cause the Crucifixion to be on Wednesday, and Yeshua would be in the tomb for three days and three nights and rise on the third day, Sunday, Nisan 18. It is very significant that in Hebrew the number 18 stands for LIFE! Chai! You may have heard the expression, "L'Chaim," meaning "To Life!"
The humorous aspect to this is that the Pharisees and the Sadducees did not agree on whether the Feast of Firstfruits happened on Nisan 16 or Nisan 18. The Sadducees were the temple priests and were the ones to pick the first sheaf of grain and wave it before the Lord as the firstfruits of the harvest. But guess what? The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection from the dead! The day they waved the sheaf, Nisan 18, symbolized LIFE! It is funny that those who opposed the resurrection didn't see the LIFE in the days they lived!
Jane Diffenderfer wrote a marvelous article, explaining all this very clearly. Please read it at Firstfruits and the Resurrection.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
I just read an outstanding article on Passover which is good solid truth and great evidence of the need for Christians to celebrate it. It reveals the pagan roots of "Easter" also. On this site you can download a FREE Haggadah (program guide for the Passover). A blessing awaits you if you make the decision to celebrate Passover in your home!!! It begins at sundown tomorrow night, April 14 (which also happens to be Nisan 14 on the sacred calendar of the Jews, the biblical day for slaying the Passover lambs.) The Feast of Unleavened Bread continues for a week, so you can choose another day in the week if you can't get prepared by tomorrow night. Go here: http://thewatchman.org/en/passover/
Pesach sameach! (Happy Passover!)
Saturday, April 12, 2014
The Jewish people are more focused on the coming of the Messiah at Passover time than at any other time of the year! It is the season of redemption! It is the perfect time to pray that their eyes will be opened to see their Messiah.
On my last post I explained the "Afikomen," the piece of matzah that is a Greek word for "I came." The Afikomen is the same "unleavened bread" that Yeshua shared with His disciples at the end of the Passover. He also shared the third cup of wine, called "the cup of redemption," announcing the New Covenant in His blood that was about to be shed the next day as THE Passover Lamb! Today the Christian church takes that part of the Passover meal and calls it Holy Communion or The Lord's Supper. The symbolism in breaking the Afikomen is so obvious. It points to the crucifixion. We must pray that the veil will be removed from the eyes of the Jewish people to see that Yeshua IS the Jewish Messiah that has already come!
The next part of the Passover Seder ("order," order of service) is about the arrival of Elijah! A place has been set for him. Elijah's cup is filled, and a child goes and opens the door to see if he has come and to invite him in. When Elijah comes, he will announce the Messiah, Son of David! Let us see what Scripture says:
Malachi 4:5 - "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Four hundred years later the angel Gabriel appeared to the priest Zacharias and told him that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son to be named John and said, "He [John] will also go before Him [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah, ... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).
Yeshua spoke of John the Baptist as "the Elijah who was to come" (Matt. 11:14). John did indeed announce the Messiah at His first coming, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) However, Yeshua indicated that Elijah is going to appear again to announce His second coming - "Indeed, Elijah IS coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished." (Matt. 17:11-12). Many believe that the "two witnesses" in Revelation 11 are Elijah and Moses. Also, the prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come "before the great and dreadful day of the Lord." That describes the end time judgment with Yeshua's second coming, not the first coming as a baby in a manger.
The Jewish tradition concerning Elijah coming to the Passover meal is very interesting. They believe that Elijah visits the circumcision ceremony of every Jewish child and testifies that the Jewish people are scrupulous in their obedience. Males could partake of the Passover meal only if they were circumcised, so Elijah comes to the Seder to "testify" that all present are indeed circumcised.
Jewish tradition also states that Elijah's cup is the fifth cup and corresponds to the fifth expression of redemption, "I will bring you to the Land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord" (Ex. 6:8). They believe this alludes to the future messianic redemption which will be announced by Elijah. ("Why is Elijah the Prophet Invited to the Seder?")
Looking for the blood moons may be exciting but not half as exciting as looking for Elijah to come!
John the Baptist prepared the way for Yeshua the first time, and Elijah himself will come to prepare the way for Yeshua in the end of days! Wow!
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
What is Passover? For me, personally, it is when death "passed over" ME! I deserved to die for my sins, but Yeshua, the Passover Lamb, died in my place. When I accepted His blood sacrifice on the doorposts of my heart, I was "saved" from death. This is the spiritual reality of Passover.
The historical reality of Passover is found in the Book of Exodus (Chap. 12). The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. When they cried out to God to save them, He sent Moses. He would be their deliverer from slavery, just as Yeshua is my deliverer from sin. God sent ten plagues on Egypt to force Pharaoh to let God's people go. The tenth plague was the death of the first-born sons. The Israelites were instructed to kill a perfect lamb and spread its blood on the doorposts of their homes. When the death angel saw the blood, he would "pass over" those homes. The Israelites were obedient, and the next day they marched out of Egypt. On their calendar, Nisan 14 was Independence Day. God had chosen them and made them a holy nation to represent Him to the world through the Laws He would give them and the miracles He would do for them.
Passover is the first of the seven annual feasts God instituted for His people. It shows His calendar of redemption! Moses had told the Israelites that God would send them a "Prophet" (Messiah) like Moses himself, from among their brothers (Deut. 18:15-19). This Jewish prophet would turn out to be YESHUA! (Philip told that to Nathaniel in John 1:45.) John the Baptist identified him, saying, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
This year I intend to celebrate Passover in our home. I am not Jewish, but I have a Jewish Savior. He is what Passover is all about. As a matter of fact, He died on the cross at exactly the time that the priests at the temple in Jerusalem were killing the Passover lambs! That was no co-incidence. It was fulfillment of prophecy, because He was the Lamb of God, the One to whom all the animal sacrifices down through the centuries had pointed to. The Apostle Paul said, "For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the feast ..." (I Cor. 5:7-8).
The first three of the seven annual feasts of Israel have been fulfilled in the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, the Messiah! The Feast of Unleavened Bread is prophetic of His burial, and the Feast of Firstfruits is prophetic of His resurrection. The fourth feast, Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek), was fulfilled in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, birthing the Church, told about in Acts 2. The last three feasts happen in the Fall and prophesy the Second Coming of the Messiah: first, the Feast of Trumpets, when He descends to earth (I Thess. 4:16-17), then ten days later, the Day of Atonement, when "all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26), and finally, Feast of Tabernacles, when Yeshua will set up His kingdom on earth and reign for 1,000 years.
So, that is God's Calendar of Redemption, shown in the feasts. Wow! (See Lev. 23 for whole calendar.)
The symbolism in the Passover service, called a Seder ("order") is, likewise, full of prophecy. The unleavened bread, called "matzah," is flat. It has no leaven, symbolic of sin, and Yeshua had no sin. It is also pierced with holes, just as Yeshua's hands and feet were pierced on the cross. And, similar to a saltine cracker, it is striped. Yeshua was flogged with 39 cruel stripes on his back! This matzah speaks volumes about just WHO the Passover Lamb is!
The most awesome thing about the Seder is the particular piece of matzah that is broken and shared after supper along with the third cup of wine. This is the origin of what Christians call "The Lord's Supper." Churches celebrate The Lord's Supper or Communion, as some call it, many times during the year, and some churches celebrate it every Sunday. Yeshua said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me ... This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." Paul added, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (I Cor. 11:24-26).
The question in my mind is - did Yeshua want us to celebrate the whole Passover Seder "in remembrance" of Him or just the ending part of it that we call "The Lord's Supper"? Before the Passover that night, Yeshua had told His disciples, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). Maybe He still has that desire to "dine with us!" Think about it!
On my next blog I will tell you what that last piece of matzah speaks of. It is truly fascinating! Also, we need to talk about the expected arrival of Elijah to the Passover Seder!
Monday, April 7, 2014
It has been called to my attention that some of the information I gave on my last post about the blood moons was misleading. My intention was to alert Christians to this phenomenon for the purpose of "watching and praying." In no way did I want to suggest that these blood moons were THE signs in the sky, signalling the second coming of Christ!
I have been reading some very good coverage of the blood moons from knowledgeable people who take issue with the statements of Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries and John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Here are some excellent links to help you clarify information about the blood moons:
What I have gleaned is that the blood moons on Jewish feast days in the past happened AFTER the important events in Israel's history, such as in the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. The tetrad at that time occurred in 1493 and 1494. This would undermine the idea that tetrads are supposed to be a divine warning sign. To give warning they would need to happen BEFORE the event.
Another fact brought to light is that these lunar eclipses of 2014-2015 will only be seen on the opposite side of the world from Israel. The Israelis will not be able to see the supposed portents of their future!
From Answers in Genesis, the claim is made that most lunar eclipses do not appear blood-like, but past eclipses have varied in color, and it is presumptuous to predict blood-red moons.
Another objection is that these eclipses happen all the time on Passover and Sukkot, due to the fact that these feasts fall on full moons all the time, and they are not necessarily portents from God.
The blood moon theory is based on a tradition in Judaism that lunar eclipses have some significance for Israel. But this is only a tradition and not scripturally proven.
In closing, let me state emphatically that the moon will definitely turn blood red before the coming of the Lord, whether or not it happens in 2014 or 2015. I can say this with confidence, because I believe the Holy Spirit inspired the prophet Joel to say so, as well as the Apostle Peter to preach that message on the Day of Pentecost! "I will perform miracles in the sky above and signs on the earth below - blood, fire and thick smoke. The sun will become dark and the moon blood before the great and fearful Day of Adonai comes. And then, whoever calls on the name of Adonai will be saved" (Acts 2:19-21; Joel 2:30-31, Complete Jewish Bible). WATCH AND PRAY!
Thursday, April 3, 2014
You may have heard that the phenomenon of "four blood moons," meaning a tetrad (four) of total lunar eclipses, are coming, two this year and two next year. The significant thing is that all four will occur on the first days of the Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). You can witness the first blood moon Tuesday week! NASA experts expect all four lunar eclipses for 2014-2015 to be visible for all or parts of the USA, weather permitting. On Tuesday, April 15, which is Passover, you can arise in the wee hours and view the full moon at 1:00 a.m. CST slowly turning completely red by 2:00 a.m. Totality is expected to end around 3:25 a.m. Exciting!
The other three blood moons of the tetrad will occur on Sukkot, October 8, 2014, on Passover, April 4, 2015, and on Sukkot, September 28, 2015. There will also be two eclipses of the sun in 2015, a total eclipse on Nisan 1, the first day of the Jews' sacred calendar, and a partial one on Tishri 1, the first day of the civil calendar, also called Rosh HaShana (new year). Read about the seven annual feasts in Leviticus 23.
It was confirmed by NASA that we have had blood-red moons on Jewish feast days on the first day of Passover and the first day of Sukkot on back-to-back years seven times since A.D. 1. Three of these were connected to 1492 (the year the Jews were expelled from Spain by Queen Isabella and Columbus set sail to discover America), 1948 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence), and 1967 (the Six-Day War when Israel regained Jerusalem) - some of the most significant days in Jewish history. Wow! No co-incidence, for sure! And now in 2014-2015 we have the same back-to-back occurrences of blood moons!
So what do we expect to happen in the 2014-2015 tetrad of blood moons? In the past an important event affecting Israel happened just before the actual years of the blood moons. So these lunar eclipses are "signals" that something very important related to Israel and the Jewish people is about to happen. There are other tetrads in the past and the future. The difference between those and the upcoming tetrad is that the 2014-2015 tetrad aligns with the Jewish feast days, and the others do not. The blood moons have shown a pattern of war and persecution for the Jewish people followed by Israel gaining or losing land. Will that happen after the 2014-2015 tetrad? These events also affect the whole world, not just Israel!
Considering that God gave the sun, moon, and stars for "signs" and seasons (Gen. 1:14), and that there will be eclipses of the sun and the moon when Yeshua returns to earth (Mark 13:24-26), it reminds believers to "look up ... because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:25-28). Christians long for Yeshua to return, but these signs in the sky are not for date-setting. They are wake-up calls. Remember how many times Yeshua exhorted His disciples to "watch."
Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, quoting the prophet Joel, "I will show wonders in the sky and on earth - blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and terrible Day of Adonai" (Joel 2:30-31; Acts 2:16-21).
Pray for Israel. Pray for the United States. Pray for yourself and your loved ones, "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen ..." (Luke 21:36).
(Good article at www.pray4zion.org/TheComingBloodMoons.html)