Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – John 3:16 – January 1, 2020

John 3

Christ teaches Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration
And there was a man of the Pharisees, Naḵdimon was his name, a ruler of the Yehuḏim.  This one came to יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from Elohim, for no one is able to do these signs You do if Elohim is not with him.”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he is unable to seea the reign of Elohim.”
Naḵdimon said to Him, “How is a man able to be born when he is old? Is he able to enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he is unable to enter into the reign of Elohim. “That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit.  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You have to be born from above.’  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
Naḵdimon answered and said to Him, “How is it possible for this to take place?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Yisra’ĕl, and do not know this? “Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what We know and witness what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. “If you do not believe when I spoke to you about earthly matters, how are you going to believe when I speak to you about the heavenly matters?
“And no one has gone up into the heaven except He who came down from the heaven – the Son of Aḏam.
of faith in his death
“And as Mosheh lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Aḏam has to be lifted up, so that whoever is believing in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.
the great love of God towards the world
“For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only brought-forth Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.  “For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
and the condemnation for unbelief
“He who believes in Him is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only brought-forth Son of Elohim. “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. “For everyone who is practising evil matters hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. “But the one doing the truth comes to the light, so that his works are clearly seen, that they have been wrought in Elohim.”
Jesus baptizes in Judea
After this, יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)and His taught ones came into the land of Yehuḏah, and He remained there with them, and was immersing.
The baptism, witness, and doctrine of John concerning Christ
And Yoḥanan was also immersing in Ayin near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. And they were coming and were being immersed, for Yoḥanan had not yet been put into prison.
Then a dispute arose between some of Yoḥanan’s taught ones and the Yehuḏim about cleansing, and they came to Yoḥanan and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Yardĕn, to whom you have witnessed, see, He is immersing, and all are coming to Him!”
Yoḥanan answered and said, “No man is able to receive any matter unless it is given to him from the heaven. “You yourselves are witnesses for me that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but I am sent ahead of Him.’ “He that has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the voice of the bridegroom. So this joy of mine is complete. “It is right for Him to increase, but me to decrease.  “He who comes from above is over all, he who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from the heaven is over all. “And what He has seen and heard, that He witnesses. And no one receives His witness. “He who receives His witness has set his seal that Elohim is true. “For He whom Elohim has sent speaks the Words of Elohim, for Elohim does not give the Spirit by measure. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all into His hand. “He who believes in the Son possesses everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.”

(The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition)


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day -Hebrews 9:15 – December 31, 2019

Hebrews 9

Now the first covenant indeed had regulations of worship and the earthly set-apart place.
For a Tent was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, and the table, and the showbread, which is called the Set-apart Place.
And after the second veil, the part of the Tent which is called Most Set-apart,
to which belonged the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that held the manna, and the rod of Aharon that budded, and the tablets of the covenant,
and above it the keruḇim of esteem were overshadowing the place of atonement – about which we do not now speak in detail.
And these having been prepared like this, the priests always went into the first part of the Tent, accomplishing the services.
But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people,
the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing,
which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience,
only as to foods and drinks, and different washings, and fleshly regulations imposed until a time of setting matters straight.
But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation,
entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
And because of this He is the Mediator of a renewed covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.
For where a covenant is, it is necessary for the death of the covenanted one to be established.
For a covenant over those dead is firm, since it is never valid while the covenanted one is living.
Therefore not even the first covenant was instituted without blood.
For when, according to Torah, every command had been spoken by Mosheh to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which Elohim commanded you.”
And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the Tent and all the vessels of the service.
And, according to the Torah, almost all is cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
It was necessary, then, that the copies of the heavenly ones should be cleansed with these, but the heavenly ones themselves with better slaughter offerings than these.
For Messiah has not entered into a Set-apart Place made by hand – figures of the true – but into the heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohim on our behalf,
not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own.
For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself.
And as it awaits men to die once, and after this the judgment,
so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to those waiting for Him, unto deliverance.

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Luke 2:47 – December 29, 2019

Luke 2

Yeshua’s Birth in Bethlehem

Now it happened in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world’s inhabitants. This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone was traveling to be registered in his own city.

Now Joseph also went up from the Galilee, out of the town of Natzeret to Judah, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family of David. a]”>[a] He went to register with Miriam, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.

But while they were there, the time came for her to give birth— and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth and set Him down in a manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds Witness Angelic Praises

Now there were shepherds in the same region, living out in the fields and guarding their flock at night. Suddenly an angel of Adonai stood before them, and the glory of Adonai shone all around them; and they were absolutely terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I proclaim Good News to you, which will be great joy to all the people. 11 A Savior is born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the Lord. 12 And the sign to you is this: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly a multitude of heavenly armies appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth shalom to men of good will.”

15 And when the angels departed from them into the heavens, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which Adonai has made known to us!” 16 So they hurried off and found Miriam and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the word that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard were amazed at the things the shepherds told them. 19 But Miriam treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

Temple Prophets Rejoice

21 When eight days had passed for His brit-milah,b]”>[b] He was named Yeshua, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of their purification were fulfilled,c]”>[c] according to the Torah of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present to Adonai23 As it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to Adonai.” d]”>[d] 24 So they offered a sacrifice according to what was said in the Torah of Adonai: “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.”e]”>[e]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel.f]”>[f] The Ruach ha-Kodesh was on him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai27 So in the Ruach, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought the Child Yeshua to do for Him according to the custom of the Torah28 Simeon received Him into his arms and offered a bracha to God, saying,

29 “Now may You let Your servant go in peace, O Sovereign Master,g]”>[g]
according to Your word.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 which You have prepared
    in the presence of all peoples:
32 ‘A light for revelation to the nations’h]”>[h]
and the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And His father and mother were marveling at the things that were said about Him. 34 And Simeon offered a bracha over them and said to Miriam His mother, “Behold, this One is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is opposed, 35 so the thoughts of many hearts may be uncovered. (And even for you, a sword will pierce through your soul.)”

36 Now Anna, a daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was a prophetess. She was well advanced in age, having lived with a husband onlyi]”>[i] seven years 37 and then as a widow until age eighty-four. She never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 And coming up at that very instant, she began praising God and speaking about the Child to all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.j]”>[j]

39 When Joseph and Miriam had completed everything according to the Torah of Adonai, they returned to the Galilee, to their own city of Natzeret40 The Child kept growing and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

The Boy Astonishes Jerusalem Scholars

41 Now His parents were going every year to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. k]”>[k] 42 When He became twelve years old, they were going up according to festival custom. 43 As they headed home after completing the days, the boy Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but His parents didn’t know. 44 Supposing He was in the caravan, they went a day’s journey, then began looking for Him among relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him.

46 After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the center of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48 When His parents saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you do this to us? Look! Your father and I were searching for You frantically!”

49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be about the things of My Father?” 50 But they did not grasp the message He was telling them.

51 Then He went down with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these words in her heart. 52 And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 2:5 cf. Mic. 5:1(2).
  2. Luke 2:21 cf. Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3.
  3. Luke 2:22 cf. Lev. 12:1-8.
  4. Luke 2:24 Exod. 13:2, cf. Exod. 13:12, 15.
  5. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8; 5:11 (LXX).
  6. Luke 2:25 cf. Isa. 40:1; 51:3.
  7. Luke 2:29 Grk. Despota; cf. Heb. Ha-Adon, Isa. 3:1; 10:33.
  8. Luke 2:32 Isa. 42:6; 49:6; cf. 60:1-3.
  9. Luke 2:36 Lit. from her virginity.
  10. Luke 2:38 cf. Isa. 43:1-3; 49:26.
  11. Luke 2:42 cf. Exod. 23:15; Lev. 23:4-8; Deut. 16:1-8.

Tree of Life Version (TLV)Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Matthew 28:18 – March 23, 2019

Matthew 28:1-20

Jesus Is Risen!

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “[a]Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them [b]and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus *said to them, [c]Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and [d]keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

The Great Commission

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:1-20) New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 28:5 Or Stop being afraid
  2. Matthew 28:9 Lit saying hello
  3. Matthew 28:10 Or Stop being afraid
  4. Matthew 28:14 Lit make you free from care
  5. Matthew 28:19 Or Having gone; Gr aorist part.
  6. Matthew 28:20 Lit all the days

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – 1 Peter 2:24 -March 22, 2019

1 Peter 2:1-25

As Newborn Babes

 Therefore, putting aside all [a]malice and all deceit and [b]hypocrisy and [c]envy and all [d]slander, like newborn babies, long for the [e]pure [f]milk of the word, so that by it you may grow [g]in respect to salvation,if you have tasted [h]the kindness of the Lord.

As Living Stones

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is [i]choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, [j]are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in [k]Scripture:

Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in [l]Him will not be [m]disappointed.”

This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”

and,

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;

for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nationa people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may [n]because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of [o]visitation.

Honor Authority

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent [p]by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For [q]such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and [r]do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the [s]king.

18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are [t]unreasonable. 19 For this finds [u]favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for ityou patiently endure it, this finds [v]favor with God.

Christ Is Our Example

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 whocommitted no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 [w]and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself [x]bore our sins in His body on the [y]cross, so that we might die to [z]sin and live to righteousness; for by His [aa]wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and [ab]Guardian of your souls.

(1 Peter 2:1-25) New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 2:1 Or wickedness
  2. 1 Peter 2:1 plural nouns
  3. 1 Peter 2:1 plural nouns
  4. 1 Peter 2:1 plural nouns
  5. 1 Peter 2:2 Or unadulterated
  6. 1 Peter 2:2 Or spiritual (Gr logikosmilk
  7. 1 Peter 2:2 Or up to salvation
  8. 1 Peter 2:3 Lit that the Lord is kind
  9. 1 Peter 2:4 Lit chosen; or elect
  10. 1 Peter 2:5 Or allow yourselves to be built up; or build yourselves up
  11. 1 Peter 2:6 Or a scripture
  12. 1 Peter 2:6 Or it
  13. 1 Peter 2:6 Or put to shame
  14. 1 Peter 2:12 Or as a result of
  15. 1 Peter 2:12 I.e. Christ’s coming again in judgment
  16. 1 Peter 2:14 Lit through
  17. 1 Peter 2:15 Lit so
  18. 1 Peter 2:16 Lit not having
  19. 1 Peter 2:17 Or emperor
  20. 1 Peter 2:18 Or perverse
  21. 1 Peter 2:19 Or grace
  22. 1 Peter 2:20 V 19, note 1
  23. 1 Peter 2:23 Lit who
  24. 1 Peter 2:24 Or carried…up to the cross
  25. 1 Peter 2:24 Lit wood
  26. 1 Peter 2:24 Lit sins
  27. 1 Peter 2:24 Lit wound; or welt
  28. 1 Peter 2:25 Or Bishop, Overseer
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MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: Knesset Panel Passes Jewish State Bill

knesset

A bill officially defining the nation of Israel as a Jewish state—something that has eluded Knesset lawmakers since the country’s inception—has just passed a key Knesset committee and now goes on to the full Knesset chamber this week for the first of three votes.  The significance of its potential passage cannot be understated.

This Jewish-state bill would actually become Israeli Basic Law, akin to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and far more powerful than typical laws that can be easily overridden by the courts.  Not only would it officially declare the State of Israel to be the one and only homeland of the Jewish people, but it would also make Hebrew the official language of the country, and would include key prophetic language from Deuteronomy 30:1–5 about how Israel must now ingather the remaining exiles spread abroad.

The law is a major prophetic turning point, and in my humble opinion, a prophetic signal that the fig tree is now ready for inspection and the times of the Gentiles are near to their end (see also Jeff’s latest article).  If it passes, I will have no hesitation in concluding that 2018 is as prophetically-significant as 1948 and 1967.  The Jewish people will finally have recognized and declared who they are, where they belong, and what a major part of their purpose is, but they will still be missing one key thing: the recognition of their Messiah Yeshua.  It will take nothing less than a 7-year tribulation for them to finally acknowledge Him and to accept His atoning sacrifice for their sins.

1948: The State of Israel is reborn

1967: Israel takes Eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

2018: Israel becomes the Jewish State, declares Hebrew the official language, and defines its prophetic purpose?

I should also mention that the bill, as written, does not mention democracy and that is intentional as its authors want to restrain the courts and require them to give deference to Jewish law.  It also allows Jewish-only communities to be established in the country.

Sources: HaaretzAl JazeeraTimes of Israel

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Torah Commentary – Mikketz (At the End) – Though It Lingers, Never Give Up – SCRIPTURES FOR December 16, 2017

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the End)jesus-in-the-synagogue
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16
Though It Lingers, Never Give Up  
I often consider the life of Yosef as I feel it has much to say to my own life. His life was one of twists and turns that no one could have foreseen. His was also a life of promises which seemed to be out of his grasp. Can you relate?
Our Torah portion begins with the words, “At the end of two years.” It does not say anything about these two years, just states they happened. Think back over your last two years since the first part of December 2015! Have you had anything happen since then? How much has happened? Have you experienced successes, failures or should we say “learning experiences”? What about betrayals or the twists and turns of life?
Consider Yosef’s two years. He was in a prison cell. Probably not much was happening outside of staring at walls. How might his life relate to ours? Glad you asked. Yosef was waiting; waiting for the promise of a dream to be fulfilled. I believe it was the dream that kept him going on a daily basis. He had to ask himself many times if the dream was real or not. When he did, something deep within answered with a resounding “yes”. The dream remained alive and in fact may have kept him alive to the end of those long two years.
The prophet Habakkuk may have thought of Yosef when he received a prophecy now recorded as a book of Scripture for us. Habakkuk was given a promise and wondered when it would happen. In chapter two of his book he is told that though the promise may seem to linger from his standpoint, from the view of the Heavenly realm, it will come to pass right on time. Too bad Yosef did not have the book of Habakkak to read.
Where am I going with this?
Do you have promises you believe Father has given you? Are there dreams in your life becoming pretty distant in your memories? Do you wonder if those things were truly promises or the result of too much pizza the night before? Here in the midst of the Feast of Hanukah would be a good time to bring those things to mind again. Submit them to the Father and listen for a renewal of those promises. Allow Him to sort out what was from Him and what was not.
I wonder if it was a day like I am asking of you which Yosef was going through in his prison cell. Could it have been a day which he was at the end of his rope so to say? He had thought about the dreams over and over and was just about to give up, for the “Linger Time” was just more than he could stand. Could he have been thinking “If nothing happens tomorrow, I am done with those dreams?” Little did he know while he was staring toward the heavens, Pharaoh was having dreams which would bring his promise to pass.
Here is a question for you. What if Yosef had given up just one day earlier? Was the fulfillment of the promise tied to him remaining faithful to it? We cannot say, but what if?
What if the fulfillment of the promises given to us is tied to our remaining faithful to them? Are you willing to chance the answer on this?
Let’s look at it from a different angle. After Yosef is summoned to Pharaoh he interprets his dreams. He then makes a great statement of faith in Genesis 41:32 which states, “The matter has been established by Elohim.” Did those words resound in Yosef as he realized all he had been through in his own life had also been established by Elohim? Did he now see his own faithfulness had been a gift to keep him from giving up?
I am asking many questions this week. The purpose is to cause each of us to think back over promises to possibly cause us to renew our grasp on them. It would be a shame to think if our faithfulness does play a part in His work that we gave up just before a knock on the door. That knock by the way may have sounded like the knock of a prison guard to Yosef, but what was it really? It was the knock of Elohim summoning Yosef into a promise given years earlier.
A last thought concerning Yosef. As the events of his life are happening, Yah is causing a famine in the land of his family, a famine which would cause his brothers to seek food, but find Yosef. What an interesting turn of events as what put him in prison to begin with was him seeking for his brothers. What a great twist!
My ending words are adapted from Churchill, Never, Never, Never give up on the promises He has spoken to you! (Click to Source)

On Christmas…

Then came Hanukkah;[c] it was winter in Jerusalem. 23 Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!”

25 Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life! They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again the Judean leaders picked up stones to stone Him. 32 Yeshua answered them, “I’ve shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone Me?”

33 The Judean leaders answered, “We aren’t stoning you for a good work, but for blasphemy. Though You are a man, You make Yourself God!”

34 Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Writings,[d] ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You speak blasphemy,’ because I said, ‘I am Ben-Elohim’?

37 “If I don’t do the works of My Father, don’t believe Me! 38 But if I do, even if you don’t trust Me, trust the deeds. Then you may come to know and continue to understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” 39 Therefore they tried to capture Him again, but He escaped from their hand.

40 Again He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first started immersing, and He stayed there. 41 Many people came to Him and were saying, “John performed no sign, but all John said about this man was true.” 42 And many trusted in Him there.

(John 10:22-40)

  1. John 10:22 Lit. Rededication.
  2. John 10:34 Lit. Law, here applied to the Torah, Prophets, and Writings; quote is from Ps. 82:6.
Tree of Life Version (TLV) Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

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On Christmas…

My family has been involved in the Messianic movement for 22 years, now, since 1995. Like many people within the Messianic movement, I find myself not looking to the month of December with great enthusiasm.

Huge controversies can and do erupt during the month of December, regarding how Messianic people are to approach the Christian holiday of Christmas, on December 25. Many Messianic Jews simply do not see Christmas as something Jewish, they do not see it as something for them, but if Christians observe it, they are not going to oppose them. Many Messianic people, particularly intermarried couples, often keep both Chanukah and Christmas. Many other Messianic people, oppose Christmas, although for different reasons and with different levels of opposition. Some of this may simply come from December 25 not being a specified holiday in the Bible, or established by the Apostles. Others see Christmas on December 25 as a clear result of syncretism practiced by Christians of the Second-Fourth Centuries, where pagan holidays were reinterpreted and “Christianized” with Biblical themes. Many see Christmas on December 25 as outright paganism, Christmas trees directly prohibited in Scripture (i.e., Jeremiah 10:2-5), and most Christians serving the Kingdom of Darkness. And, a few others, noting some early opposition to Christmas by a number of the Protestant Reformers, see Christmas on December 25 as a symbol of corrupt Roman popery. Those who hold to all of these positions, are likely to be found at your local Messianic congregation during the month of December.

When I attended Asbury Theological Seminary (2005-2008) and took Church History I, the subject of Christmas on December 25 did come up in various classes. One of the textbooks we were assigned, had this to say:

“The earliest feast day in connection with the birth of Jesus was January 6, Epiphany, the day of his manifestation. This was originally the celebration of the birth itself. Later, particularly in some areas of the Latin West, December 25 began to take its place. This latter date was actually a pagan festival which, after the time of Constantine, was preempted by the celebration of Christmas”

Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1 (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1984), 96.

As you can imagine, some of my fellow students were a bit shocked when they saw–in our assigned textbook, no less–that Christmas on December 25 had some less-than-Biblical origins. I remember once of my professors adding to this that the Christmas tree was adapted from Teutonic and Nordic religion, with obviously no connection to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem–and then only added that Easter eggs likewise had no connection to the resurrection, but instead ancient fertility rites. “So, why do Christians participate in this?”, was the blunt response. The answer was: “The Christian Church has reinterpreted and redeemed these once pagan holidays and festivities.” What this actually was, was a seminary instructor saying that it was acceptable for Believers to practice syncretism, that is, take pagan religious customs, reinvent them, and superimpose Biblical themes onto them. This is precisely what Ancient Israel was told not to do, before entering into the Promised Land:

“When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations” (Deuteronomy 18:9, NJPS).

Yet unlike much of today’s evangelicalism, which will equivocate on the value of Christmas on December 25–a number of prominent comic voices recognize the syncretism in Christmas, and have no problem using it in their various routines!

At the 2002 White House Correspondents Dinner, Drew Carey made note of how Christmas, Easter, and most especially Halloween–were all holidays with origins outside of the Bible:

Last year, the College Humor sketch, “Adam Ruins Everything,” came out with a piece on “The Drunken, Pagan History of Christmas”:

Many of us who once observed Christmas, did not participate in frivolity, drunkenness, and hedonism. Many of us observed Christmas in a pious and holy manner, going to church, focusing on the birth of the Messiah, singing hymns, and fellowshipping with family and close friends. This is actually what makes giving up Christmas difficult for many people in today’s Messianic movement. Their attachment to Christmas, is not so much with the Christmas tree; their attachment to Christmas is with memories of being with those they cared about, some of whom are no longer living.

All of us should be mature enough as adults to recognize that during the month of December, due to all of the nativity scenes and different Christmas carols, that more people are going to be presented with hearing about Jesus and some form of the gospel, than at any other time during the year. In spite of many of the questionable practices and origins surrounding Christmas, God has brought people to Himself during this time of year. Yet Messianic people should also be wise enough to recognize that the Savior declared today during the month of December, is broadly not the Messiah of Israel, who is returning to reign over Planet Earth from Jerusalem—but is instead a universal Christ of tolerance (for human sin). While many sincere Christian people have honored God in ignorance on December 25, Christmas on December 25 is not a God-honoring activity.

I do not encourage any of you to be odious to Christian people during this month, creating unnecessary scenes. Wishing “Happy Holidays” when being told “Merry Christmas,” is entirely legitimate. (Click to Source)

 

Torah Commentary – Vayishlach (He Sent) – The Journey Continues – SCRIPTURES FOR December 2, 2017

Torah Commentary

jesus-jew-2

Vayishlach (He Sent)
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Obadiah 1:1-21
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Revelation 7:1-12
 
The Journey Continues     
 
Ya’akov is now free of Lavan after twenty years of working for him. The time was not wasted by any means as he is returning with a growing family and the riches needed to take care of them. It appears Yah was up to the challenge of guarding Ya’akov giving him bread to eat and clothing to wear. Though Lavan is behind him there is still a matter he has to face, his brother. 
 
Word comes to Ya’akov that Esav is heading his way with 400 of his men. Twenty years may be a long time, but Ya’akov figures those years have not softened the heart of Esav, but more than likely made it harder. The response Ya’akov has to the meeting is one we need to consider, not only for him, but for ourselves. In Genesis 32:21 the Complete Jewish Bible says Ya’akov sought to “appease” Esav. The Hebrew word here is kaphar. It is only used four times in Torah, two of those times in Genesis. The word means “To cover or coat with pitch.” Yes, you guessed it, the other time the word is used is in Genesis when Noah covers the Ark with pitch. Where do we go with this one? There are two directions.
 
First, we can take the standard commentary and say Ya’akov was trying to compromise with Esav and protect his own hide at the possible expense of part of his family being killed. Let’s take a different look.
 
When Noah covered the Ark with pitch what was he doing? Was he not seeking to protect that which was inside? Could this same thought not be applied to Ya’akov? Is it that Ya’akov thought he could not win the battle over Esav so he set the whole plan in motion to by time, protect his family for the moment and live to fight another day? You be the judge.
 
One more thought before moving on. Either way we look at this, in the end the conflict between the two brothers was not resolved, but rather pushed on to a different time, a different generation. Was this the plan and timing of Yah? I don’t know. What I do know is that one day the fight between the two seeds will have to be brought to a head and decided. When is that time? Again, I do not know. If it is to be in our lifetime, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to no longer kaphar, but fight, no matter our personal cost?”
 
 After the meeting, Ya’akov again breathes a sigh of relief and continues his journey to Sh’khem. Wait, stop the bus, he goes where? Sh’khem. What about the oath he took to return to Beit-El? Maybe it was a stop on the way, but it would be a stop of disaster. It is in Sh’khem that Dinah is found with the “local girls.” Why was this allowed? Who forgot to protect their daughter, their sister? Dinah is raped and the family begins a downward spiral bringing tension within that I would argue is yet to be repaired. A sad note to me is the question of the boys which was asked to their father in Genesis 34:31. This question was never answered. You consider that one for a while. 
 
What is the lesson to us from the disaster of Sh’khem? There are many. On top of the list to me is concerning our oaths or promises we make to HaShem. Ya’akov stood at a mountaintop experience of seeing angels, ladders and Yah Himself. He speaks words of promise and then twenty years later, does he think Yah has forgotten those words? Did he consider Sh’khem a place to rest for a bit before he fulfilled his promise? It is my belief that as soon as he figured out he had survived the meeting with Esav he should have asked a question, WWAD. What Would Abraham DO? His grandfather, who when asked to sacrifice his Yitzchak, got up early and made a beeline to the mountain. If he had followed that example maybe the eventual wedding of Dinah would have been a happier event.
 
But who am I to point fingers at Ya’akov? Who are you to do the same? Truth is we have all made promises we at best, delay in keeping. Maybe the lesson of this Torah portion and the uncovering of Ya’akov’s life is for our benefit to teach us to not be quick to offer a vow or promise. When we do make a vow, let us be quick to fulfill those words at the earliest possible opportunity. I think that is something someone else spoke about somewhere, like maybe Yeshua in the Gospels! (Click to Source)