Saturday, May 26, 2007


May 26, 2007

It was a bright and beautiful spring morning with a hint of an impending heat wave. The olive trees dotting the landscape added silvery hues to the golden light. But even more spectacular was the light that was reflecting from the Temple, commanding, in all its glory, Mount Moriah to the west. As the smoke was rising from the morning sacrifices, it caught the sunrays and appeared to be sending them back to the heavens from whence they came. It was the 40th day of the Counting of the Omer. It might have even been Rosh Chodesh (that is the first day of the third month). For a number of days now, during the Counting, the little band of students followed their Master to this lovely spot, to listen to him speak about the Kingdom of Elohim. But today things seemed different. Yeshua was not the same as He had been in the past little while. Something was in the air…

One of the disciples whispered over to the other, as they began their ascent toward the summit of the Mount of Olives, “Do you recall what He said to us a few days before Passover, words we did not understand then?” “Yes,” replied the listener, “He said, 'in a little while you will not see Me, and again a little while you we will see Me, because I go the Father.'” Another disciple, half listening in to the conversation, suddenly butted in, “that’s right, the Master told us that there would come an hour in which we would remember the things He had told us.” Yeshua, walking just a few paces ahead, was smiling as He overheard their talk.

They nearly reached the summit, when a follower of the disciples who had been within earshot, asked them to fill him in on what Yeshua had told them. All three began to respond to the inquirer all at once. Then suddenly they all stopped, just as quickly as they had started. Smiling and laughing at each other, as they were gesturing with their hands, they knew instinctively who should answer this time. It was Yochanan. The beloved disciple began to describe the episode that had occurred just before the fateful day of their teacher’s arrest. He told the young man that had Yeshua not done among the people and the religious leaders the works which He had done, the latter would not have been guilty of sin; but now, after having witnessed His deeds, their response demonstrated their hatred for Him, and also for His Father. "This," Yochanan added, "happened that the word from Psalm 35;19 'they hated Me without a cause', might be fulfilled." He then proceeded to tell the young fellow that Yeshua had spoken to them about a Helper whom He would send to them from the Father. “Yeshua said that this Spirit, which He called the Spirit of Truth, would come forth from the Father and that He would testify as to who Yeshua really was, and because of His presence we also, who have been with Yeshua from the beginning, would bear witness to the Truth.” Yochanan continued breathlessly as they climbed together. "These things Yeshua spoke to us, that we should not stumble. Yeshua further said that we would be put out of the synagogues; yes, even that a time would come that whosoever kills us will think that he is doing Elohim a favorable service. These things they will do to us because they have not known the Father, or the Messiah. Our Master told us these things, so that when the time comes we would remember these things and be ready. He did not tell us these things at first because He was with us, but now that He was going back to the One who sent Him, He wanted to warn us. Amazingly none of us had asked Him where He was going, although His words were very troublesome to us and our hearts were filled with sorrow. But then He said something very strange. He told us that His going away would be to our advantage. That did not make sense to us at all. Who is this Helper whom He was talking about, who will not come to us unless Yeshua would go away? Only if He departs, would He then send this Helper to us, and when the Helper comes He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

The man was very perplexed over these words, but before he could ask, “where is Yeshua going?” they had arrived at the summit. A feeling of awe and deep reverence swept their hearts, as Yeshua turned to face them. His voice was stern and commanding when He told them not to leave Jerusalem before the Father’s promise is fulfilled. They all looked at one another, expecting someone to ask the inevitable question, “Where are you going and when will you return?”

Yet no one spoke. But the silence which surrounded them did not still their minds. They remained preoccupied with thoughts on the previous days’ teachings about the Kingdom of Elohim. Their expectations were aroused once again by Yeshua’s words about the coming Kingdom. Was He now going to lead them into Jerusalem in a triumphant march of victory, and set up His Kingdom over Israel? They had such hopes before His death! And oh how terribly disappointed and devastated they were when He hung on the execution tree! But now, after His reappearance, their hopes had been rekindled with the passion to see the Kingdom restored to Israel.

The impetuous students could no longer resist, and turning to Yeshua asked Him point blank: “Is it at this time that You are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” All eyes remained fixed upon His gentle face, as He answered them candidly in a matter of fact tone: “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Sprit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1: 7-8). Before those standing around could gather their thoughts, a mist began to appear over and around the Messiah. To their amazement He began to rise along with the cloud and soon evaporated out of sight.

Standing there on top of that mountain gazing in wonderment at the blue sky, nothing seemed to be real to the bewildered band. No more questions and no more answers. A feeling of disbelief descended upon them. But the dramatic scene was not over yet. Two men dressed in white appeared from nowhere and stood in front of them. Where had they come from? No one knew. These mysterious characters, however, seemed to recognize them and even knew where they were from. “Men of Galilee! “, they announced, “Why do you stand looking into the sky? Yeshua who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1: 11).

Total silence enveloped them as they trekked back down the mountain. Crossing the bridge in front of the Temple they hurriedly made their way back to the upper room, where they had been staying while they counted the Omer with their Master. Now the Messiah was no longer with them. All that lingered were His departing words, calling for them to remain in Jerusalem. Fishing in the Sea of Galilee seemed now like a faraway dream, yet the Teacher’s words to them, of becoming fishers of men still held them captive. Together with one mind and in prayer they finished the Counting of the Fifty Days.
When the Feast Day arrived, they were still together in that same room. Suddenly a sound of a violent rushing wind cut through the place, and then appeared what looked like "tongues of fire". Right then they were filled with that which was promised by the Father. Stunned by the overwhelming presence of the Spirit, they reeled back and forth like drunkards and spoke in strange languages. Although eying each other, as if they were strangers, they now felt that they had knowledge of, and an intimacy with their Elohim and Messiah which they had never thought possible. Bathing in the Father’s love, they went into the streets and with little effort spoke in the languages of those present, convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgment. They expounded the truth of Torah in a new and living way, healing the sick, lame and blind, casting out demons as if the authority of heaven was in their very mouths. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was Yeshua’s answer to their question about the Kingdom being restored to Israel. They were now the witnesses to that Kingdom, which came into them via the Spirit of Holiness. Later, one of the apostles would put this experience, of the indwelling Spirit, into perspective by saying that the “Kingdom of Elohim is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

As we approach the 50th day of the counting of the Omer, let us continue to pray with one heart as our Messiah has taught us: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Holy be your Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” His Kingdom has come into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’s presence, but now are we prepared to do His will?


Friday, May 18, 2007


May 18, 2007

Hopefully by now you have become acclimated to being called an "Israelite". Moreover, to some of you the Spirit has revealed your specific tribal identity. Others, on the other hand, feel that they are Gentiles, while there are those who know that they are of Judah and others refer to themselves as Ephraimites. Our national/natural identity is indeed very important, so long as it does not cause us to lose our sense of identity and unity with and in Messiah Yeshua.

Paul declared something about himself that most of us would like to ignore. However, that statement is so important to our own oneness/unity that it bears considering and reading over and over, until it is fully absorbed: "I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Master, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from Elohim by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3: 4-11). In addition, although a born-again Believer and a seasoned apostle, Paul viewed himself as a "wretched man" (Romans 7: 24).

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not trying to make light of the natural identity. Without a doubt, it is a very significant factor. It is very much a part of our testimony and witness to YHVH's faithfulness to His covenants, and to that which He spoke through His prophets of old. However, we do not only have an earthly testimony; there is also a heavenly one to which we bear witness.

Writing to the Ephesian Believers, both Jews and non-Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, the Apostle highlights their first point of unity: "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Ephesians 2:1-3). Even with all of the Jewish and Torah keeping credentials, he came to realize that he was no different than any other person.

In that famous Chapter 11 of Romans, Paul notes that "Elohim gave up all", and that means all mankind, to disobedience (ref Romans 11:32). If YHVH has given all up to this condition, no one is exempt. Thankfully Paul doesn't stop there, but introduces another point regarding our unity/togetherness, as is seen in the following verses: "But Elohim, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua" (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Isn't that wonderful? By His grace and love YHVH made us alive together with Messiah, raised us up with Him and caused us to sit together with Him, and hence with one another. Psalm 133 tells us how pleasant and how important it is for brothers to sit/dwell/be in unity. YHVH redeemed and restored us in order for us to participate in an administration that for ages was hidden in Himself, but has now been made known to us and through us (that is, if we are sitting together in Messiah) to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (ref. Ephesians 3: 9-10).

Wow! Just think, at first we were all together under the influence of the prince and power of the air, and the spirit that was working in us was the same one that works in all the sons of disobedience… But because of His great love and grace, He has now taken us out of the kingdoms of this world's darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). The nature of this kingdom of light is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (ref Galatians 5:22-23). These qualities are evident in those who are seated together in these heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua. As a result we are now ruling over the spirits that once ruled us.

Since we are called to such an incredible place, the Apostle implores us "to be worthy of this calling by putting on humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4: 1-3). With that let us greet one another with a hearty and fragrant….


Friday, May 11, 2007


May 11, 2007

"Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I YHVH the first, and am with the last. I am He" (Isaiah 41:4). Rephrased this verse would read: "I YHVH, the first and the last, have performed and accomplished it, calling the generations from the beginning." Because YHVH is speaking here very specifically about the life of Ya'acov in his progeny throughout all its generations, we, who have his life in this generation, are assured of His continual involvement, until He will fully accomplish His word and purpose for the whole house of Ya'acov.

"But you, Israel, My servant, Ya'acov whom I have chosen, descendant of Avraham My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, 'you are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your Elohim. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand'" (Isaiah 41: 8-10). These words from the Elohim of Ya'acov, especially to those of us who have come from the "rejected" side of his house (meaning the lost tribes), are very encouraging and comforting, indicating that YHVH is "watching over His word to perform it" (Jeremiah 1:12).

YHVH warns those who content with or war against His servants, but at the same time tells us (Israel/Ya'acov) not to fear: "Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent. For I am YHVH your Elohim, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'do not fear, I will help you'" (Isaiah 41:11-13).

The greatest challenge that we, as the redeemed of Israel have, is to contend with the spirits of unbelief and doubt. However, these two messengers of Satan are discernable because of their modus operandi (mode of operation) of exalting themselves above the knowledge of the Word of Elohim (ref. 2 Corinthians 10:5). In this generation of the seed of the forefathers, we are being challenged like never before: from the cares and the riches of the world, to wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters, and in particular the rise of the sword of Islam. The frogs are croaking the message of "fear" from every avenue of communication. But in the case of YHVH's redeemed remnant, fear should not be a motivating factor in decision making. We need to be strong in the strength of His "Righteous Right Hand", whom we know as Yeshua our Messiah and our righteousness.

If we will humble ourselves and pray, YHVH will answer and will not forsake us. He will open rivers on the bare heights; springs in the midst of the valleys. He will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land fountains of water (ref. Isaiah 41:17-18).

In this generation we need to know who we are and to whom we belong. We are His redeemed remnant "Israel", His servant. We are here and alive in Messiah for His namesake, that is, we are to be a manifestation of His nature. This is first seen in our families, and then in our relationships with one another in the body of Messiah.

May our studies of Torah (scriptures) this week be accompanied by "faith, hope, and love", all of which, working together, establish us in the unity of His Kingdom, as a holy nation and royal priesthood.

As we enter into His Shabbat, "let the peace of Elohim rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:15).