Friday, August 31, 2007


August 31, 2007

I don't know if you are like me, but I have really been fighting and struggling to overcome the power of sin, the world of lusts, and the devil. Reading the letters to the "congregations" in the book of Revelation, I noticed that they were all promised some wonderful things if they would only "overcome".

I had to ask myself if I'm any closer to this ideal than I was 35 years ago, when I first received the Life of the Messiah and the Spirit of Holiness. After so many years why am I still struggling in certain areas? Scripture says "… young men, because you are strong, and the word of Elohim abides in you,.. you have overcome the evil one" (1 John 2:14). When I looked at the mirror, it told me that I was a bit passed the young part. But are there any "young men" in the body of Messiah who have overcome the evil one? I had to ponder. There are a lot of wonderful people, but have they "overcome" the power of sin that is working in their members (ref. Romans 7: 23)?

Being a special education teacher, I had to examine to see if I had missed something in my spiritual early childhood development, which could be a handicap in my present spiritual walk. In his writings to little children, John the Apostle gave me a clue as to what may be my problem: "I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake…and… "You know the Father…" (1 John 2:12, 13). Knowing that my sins are forgiven is not a problem, but what struck me was the last part of the statement: "for His name's sake". What is the meaning of "for His name's sake", and does it have something to do with knowing the Father? Could it be that in all my "Christian" education I never learned nor saw anyone living for the Father's "name sake"?

One of the first verses I had to memorize many years ago was, "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). I knew, back then, that Jesus overcame and that that was sufficient to get me to heaven. However, the first part of the verse was left out for some reason. "You are of Elohim [His name's sake] little children and have overcome them [the spirits that are not from Elohim]" (1 John 4:4). Overcoming seems to take place during childhood, as this is also the time in which one gets to know one's parents. "Little children you know the Father" (1 John 2:13). Yeshua said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48), and Peter, quoting from the Torah, writes, "You shall be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 19:2).

I believe that belonging to YHVH, for His Name's Sake, is not just carrying the label of His name, but the very life and nature of the Father. Thus in order to overcome, our faith must take us into the Father's gospel-reality; that means that our identity is in fact no longer ours, but our Heavenly Father's through Yeshua our Messiah: "For you have died and your life is hidden with Messiah in Elohim. When Messiah, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:3-4). Getting to know Him is getting to know who we are as His children, as His body, as His nation Israel. Hence, my overcoming is not going to be based on how hard I work at defeating sin and the world, but on recognizing that my sins were forgiven me not for my name's sake, but for His and that victory and overcoming are based on knowing the Father's righteousness and His life in me. "For whoever is born of Elohim overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith" (1 John 5:4). "And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim?" (1 John 5:5).

Over the years I have written about the importance of firstborn, and that according to Scripture all first fruit and firstborn belong to Elohim. That means that they are His and are here for His name's sake. Yeshua was the perfect example, He was not just the only begotten Son of Elohim, but He was also the firstborn of creation and firstborn from the dead (ref. Colossians 1: 15-18). Yeshua overcame because He knew who and what He was as a firstborn redeemer, and lived for His Father's Name sake. We too are likened to the first fruit of the new creation (ref. James 1: 18), but not only of the 'new', we are also of the 'old'; "Israel is my firstborn" (Exodus 4:22); "Ephraim is my firstborn" (ref Jeremiah 31:9). As firstborn, we belong to YHVH Elohim for His name's sake. This is seen in YHVH's response to us through the prophet Ezekiel:

"Therefore, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says YHVH Elohim, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. "And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I amYHVH," declares YHVH Elohim, "when I prove Myself holy in you in their sight" (Ezekiel 36: 22-23).

May it be so!


Friday, August 10, 2007


August 10, 2007

"Here goes another message…" you are thinking… "about the church replacing the Jews, or the House of Judah (Jews) replacing the House of Joseph/Israel…" No, not this time! The issue at hand is altogether different - it is one that is even more serious, incurring dire consequences. It has to do with replacing YHVH's commandments, especially the first one: "You shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6: 5; Matthew 22:37).

Why did Yeshua teach us that of all the commandments, this one is the most important? In fact, He even indicated that all the others are contingent upon this one. Thus, if we do not keep this command, the others are rendered as of no effect. Have we unwittingly replaced this commandment with perhaps hundreds of others? Have we added to or taken away from this most important Torah ruling?

YHVH warned Israel: "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH your Elohim which I command you… whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32). Adding to or taking away from the Word of Elohim also constitutes a form of replacement theology. In any language, if letters are removed from words; added or replaced (especially the consonants), the meaning will be changed and in many cases lost altogether. Yeshua, speaking to his disciples said that "until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Torah, until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18). Yeshua did not come to do away with the Torah, but rather to fulfill and bring clarity to it as seen, for example, in what is called the "Sermon on the Mount".

YHVH warned Israel what would happen to them if they did not walk according to His instructions: "Your eyes have seen what YHVH has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, YHVH your Elohim has destroyed them from among you. But you who held fast to YHVH your Elohim are alive today, every one of you" (Deuteronomy 4: 3-40).

In the wisdom of the Proverbs we get a glimpse at how dangerous it is to add to YHVH's word: "Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:6). Revelation 21:8 reveals to us that "all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

The positive side, however, is that there is a wonderful promise to those who do obey YHVH's instruction: "My son, forget not my Torah; but let your heart keep my commandments: For length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you" (Proverbs 3:1-2 emphases added). If you are like me, I really struggle with loving my Heavenly Father with all my heart, soul and strength. It seems that the battle rages inside me to keep this from being my primary goal. Each and every day I become occupied with so many other thoughts, words and actions. And as I reflect back on the day, just thinking about that commandment may have only been a momentary or fleeting experience. It is obvious that this does not come naturally to us and it takes effort to embrace and cling to this most important injunction.

The Torah instructions disclose to us that YHVH our Elohim tests us to see if we will love Him. One such acid test, which proves whether there is a heart to love YHVH or not, is the enticement by a prophet or dreamer of dreams who performs signs and wonders in order to draw us (Israel) to follow (love) other gods and serve them (ref. Deuteronomy 13:3). When our forefathers were taken through the desert, Elohim confided in them His reason for having led them that way: "And you shall remember all the way which YHVH your Elohim has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not" (Deuteronomy 8:2).

It seems that YHVH gives us wilderness experiences each and every day, for this same reason. Are we making excuses during these times, complaining about the circumstances or people that He has placed in our path, or do we see them as opportunities to love Him with all our heart, soul and strength?

The most important aspect of our Heavenly Father's relationship with us is the intimacy through a heart of love. I pray that we have not replaced this first and most important commandment for another. Perhaps one of the reasons that our Creator gave us the Shabbat is so that we would have at least one day out of the week to practice loving Him. But if we have not known His love for us, and we do not express with all our hearts love towards Him, it will be very difficult to find that inner peace that brings the rest and a true Shabbat experience.


Sunday, August 05, 2007


August 3, 2007

In last week's letter I suggested that we are living in the days of restoration, which brought to mind something Moshe said to Israel upon their entrance to the good land: "… has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as YHVH your Elohim did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:34).

Was the above scripture played out once again over the past hundred years, when the first nation/stick of Judah (see Eze 37:16) was taken out of the nations by the mighty hand of the Almighty, and brought back to the land? Were there not two world wars during this time? If this is what it took to bring a remnant of the first nation out; what about the second nation "in the hand of Ephraim" (Ezekiel 37: 19 Zechariah 10)? Is this the scenario which is unfolding before our eyes? Will we see great terrors, trials, signs, wonders and wars? There is much resistance by religious authorities to this biblical understanding, namely to the fact that YHVH has these two witness nations of Judah and Israel and that they are to be restored into one nation in the land. Never-the-less, YHVH's Word is the "same yesterday, today and forever". And since He is watching over His Word to perform it, it really does not make much difference what man thinks, although YHVH does grant windows of time for repentance.

Many of you responded positively to last week's letter (DDD), for which I would like to thank you. I would also like to add that none of us can foretell the future, but we can have fun looking at the horizon and analyzing what we see. The following is a portion of a letter that I received last week:

"What we've witnessed many times is the "Chicken Little syndrome", where someone is crying the sky is falling..., and it leads to the "Boy who cried wolf" syndrome where folks then tend to become numb, complacent and will cease to rightly respond. We do not want to be watchmen who are like mute dogs that cannot sound a warning, but as we're peering to the horizon to see what may be coming, we need to have the object in focus before we start crying battle. We have to be still, and press our ears to hear and wait on Father".

With that in mind, I am going to 'take a shot' at what I perceive to be Syria's reason for flexing its muscles on its border with Israel. The Syrians are well aware of the consequences that they would have to face, should they attack Israel. Hence I believe their reason for feigning military aggression is in order to force the UN and the US to put pressure on Israel to abide by UN-resolutions which address the handing over of all territories, and the creation of a PA State. Assad also feels compelled to demonstrate strength of leadership and a posture of 'standing up' to Israel. Should a Syrian threat be imminent and in earnest, Israel could make use of a preemptive attack. It doesn't appear, however, that Olmert is ready to do that, especially with Peres, who wants peace at all costs, at the helm. Thus, in the course of this past week all kinds of diplomatic efforts were made, and voices (including from the Bush government) were heard making pronouncements regarding the emergence of a PA State before the American President leaves office.

On the other hand efforts have been made on the part of some moderate Western Islamic clerics to deplore Muslim extremists. One even went so far as to point his finger directly at the Saudis, who are the ones financing the building of mosques and perpetuating their particular brand of Islam (Wahabbism) which is the most extreme sect within Suni Islam. This cleric advised the Bush administration to stop supporting the Saudi regime. But lo and behold, guess who is now behind the most recent peace initiative? Do you want to laugh or cry?

As far as war is concerned, we in Israel are at war with Hezbollah and Hamas. As to the Saudis, our government is willing to sit down with them (with the backing of the USA) and at least in principle accept their plan, which is nothing more than another version of UN resolution 224 and 338 and motivated by mega bucks. At this point we will have to wait and see what will come out of it. Could this be one more prop on the stage of the land division scene (Joel 3:2), very specifically "the mountains of Israel" which consist of what is commonly called the West Bank? In Ezekiel 36:1-4 the enemies declare that those areas belong to them.

But in contrast, the Elohim of Israel says: "I will make them [Judah and Israel] one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms" (Ezekiel 37:22).